The European Food Safety Authority has published a report analysing the latest epidemiological data available on the incidence of the “Schmallenberg” virus (SBV) in Europe. The report outlines that by the end of October 2012, the virus, affecting domestic and wild ruminants, was reported by 14 countries. The most recent data reported in this latest publication show that SBV has continued to circulate within Europe with newly affected herds being identified in new regions by October 2012. Approximately 6,000 holdings have had the presence of SBV confirmed by laboratory tests. EFSA reiterates that the number of affected herds is low compared to the total number of herds with a maximum proportion of confirmed SBV herds per region being 6.6% for sheep and 4% for cattle. The Authority does not have data at this time to assess the impact on affected herds.
EFSA has published this report as part of the on-going request from the European Commission to regularly monitor and analyse the latest data available on SBV. The most recent data show that SBV has continued to circulate within Europe with newly affected herds being identified in new regions. These new regions have been identified at the margins of known infected areas. However it is possible, that animals not previously exposed to the virus within the affected area, may still be susceptible to infection and that the effects on newborn animals are still to be observed.
The results of EFSA’s report are being shared with the European Commission and Member States, providing them with the state of play on the latest scientific information on SBV and assisting them with the risk management approaches that may be taken.
There is currently no evidence that the Schmallenberg virus could cause illness in humans.
Named after the German town where it was first identified, the Schmallenberg virus, which belongs to a vector-transmitted group of viruses, was found in Europe in the second half of 2011. The Schmallenberg virus affects sheep but also cattle and goats and can result in serious birth defects.