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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

UK : Animal disease detected in Norfolk, Suffolk and Sussex

Via BBC News, excerpt :

" A new animal illness which causes birth defects in livestock has been confirmed in the UK for the first time at four sheep farms.

Tests on animals on the farms in Norfolk, Suffolk and East Sussex have detected the Schmallenberg virus.

The disease first emerged in the Netherlands and Germany last year.

It can lead to late abortions and birth deformities in newborn sheep, goats and cattle and is thought to be spread by midges.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), which detected the disease in the UK farms, said it was continuing to monitor it.

'Spread by midges'

Officials said that although the disease was a new one, and there were some uncertainties about it, assessment by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggested the risk to humans from Schmallenberg virus was very low.

A spokesman for the AHVLA said: "We have finished the initial analysis of samples we have received as a result of our enhanced surveillance for this new disease."

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