Dutch livestock farmers are ‘extremely worried’ about a new virus which has been identified in adult cattle and in deformed lambs, Trouw reported on Thursday evening.
The virus has been named the Schmallenberg virus after the German location where it was first identified on November 18, the paper says. It is related to a group of viruses known as Orthobunya, which are usually found in Asia, Africa and Australia and do not transfer directly to humans.
Trouw says since the beginning of December, 20 farms nationwide have reported the birth of lambs with brain or limb malformations, all of which were born dead or died soon after. The lambs all appear to be carrying the same virus as was reported in adult cattle on nine farms in the east of the country earlier this year.
‘Our big fear is that unborn cattle have been infected,’ virologist Wim van der Poel from Wageningen University told the paper.
The disease may have been spread by gnats, which benefited from the warm autumn, Trouw said.
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