Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel
Wild deer could be a "reservoir" for Schmallenberg
Scientists believe farm virus could affect wild animals

European scientists have raised concerns that the livestock virus Schmallenberg has been found in wild animals, which could act as a "reservoir" of infection.

Dr Mutien-Marie Garigliany, a veterinary expert at the Universite de Liege in Belgium is part of a team of experts studying cases of SBV in wildlife. As a result of their research, which suggests wild animals such as roe and red deer are affected by the virus, Dr Garigliany has called for "specific surveillance of wild animals for SBV."

Whilst it is believed wild deer can catch the virus, the affect of them and their offspring is as yet unknown. Dr Rachael Tarlinton, a virology expert and veterinary scientist at the University of Nottingham, said "we know wild deer get the virus [because] they produce antibodies to it. But deer have a different placental structure to cows and sheep - so we don't know if it gets across the placenta to affect foetuses."

According to Professor Trevor Drew of the UK government's Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the virus can infect native red deer, fallow deer, sika deer and roe deer. Speaking to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee, Professor Drew raised the difficulties faced with controlling Schmallenberg, a virus passed by bites from midges and other insects.

"It is just impossible to control midges across an area the size of Europe. Even if we had some national campaign, it would be quite simple that the midges would be blown over and of course we cannot control the disease in wild deer."

The huge financial impact of Schmallenberg on some farms is well known, with research from the University of Nottingham suggesting losses as high as 30 per cent in some infected flocks. While speaking to the select committee, the UK's deputy chief veterinary officer Alick Simmons noted that while a vaccine against SBV is not yet available, several are in development.

"This is a disease which we believe will either through vaccination or through natural spread become less of a problem over time," he told the committee. "And already in the areas we have been affected in northern Europe and to a certain extent in the south east of England, the disease is less than it was last year."

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Dogs Trust announces winners of vet student awards

News Story 1
 Cambridge vet student James Jewkes has been awarded first place in the annual Dogs Trust EMS Awards, for his paper on the threat of exotic infectious diseases in rehoming centres. James will now go on a two-week placement at the WVS International Training Centre in South India.

Each year the awards allow vet students to gain hands-on experience during work placements at 13 of the charity’s rehoming centres, then submit reports on a relevant subject.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Former RCVS president to chair new Horse Welfare Board

Former RCVS president Barry Johnson has been appointed as the independent chair of a new Horse Welfare Board. Barry, who is also past chairman of World Horse Welfare, was selected by an industry panel including the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and The Horsemen’s Group.

The welfare board aims to develop a new welfare strategy covering the whole racing industry. Mr Johnson said: “I’m very pleased to have been asked by racing to take on this role and by the sport’s commitment to continuous improvement in the welfare of racehorses."