Schmallenberg crosses into Scotland

Schmallenberg virus (SBV) has reached Scotland, it has been confirmed.

Farmers have been urged to remain vigilant after the Scottish government announced SBV was circulating in the country.

According to the government, eight cows in a dairy herd at the Barony campus of Scotlandís Rural College in Dumfries and Galloway, tested positive for SBV antibodies, indicating they have been exposed to the virus.

The government said it was currently at a low prevalence and no deformed calves had been born to the 160-strong herd.

Last year

SBV, which can cause abortions and birth defects in animals, was first detected in southern England early last year. However, this is the first evidence to suggest that there are midges carrying the virus in Scotland.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Since Schmallenberg was first detected in the south of England we have watched it spread slowly northwards. Confirmation of its arrival in Scotland is, therefore, no surprise but is nonetheless disappointing and undoubtedly a headache which farmers could do without at the moment.

"Following that confirmation, farmers should continue to exercise vigilance, particularly when moving animals onto their farm and should consider testing breeding stock for the SBV antibody."