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First case of new virus found in Oxfordshire cattle
7:00am Saturday 30th June 2012 in News
A VIRUS that can cause illness and birth defects in sheep, goats and cattle has been found in Oxfordshire.
The latest figures from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) show the Schmallenberg virus (SBV) has been reported on 274 farms in England since it was discovered in the east of the country in January.
Earlier this week the AHVLA confirmed the county’s first case in cattle. The location of the farm has not been released.
Defra believe the disease was brought into the UK from infected midges blown across the Channel last year and Oxfordshire was deemed one of the “at risk” regions for infection.
According to Defra the virus can cause a drop in milk production, pyrexia and diarrhoea in adult cattle, and late abortion or birth defects in newborn cattle, sheep and goats.
New cases are still being found in cattle because cows infected in early pregnancy when midges were circulating last autumn are still giving birth to affected calves.
Kevin Rillie, of the National Farmers’ Union, said the virus usually only caused problems in one year and afterwards the animal built up a resistance to it.
He said: “It does have an economic effect in the year in question, but my understanding is it’s like flu, you get it and then get over it.
“It’s not a foot and mouth crisis.”