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Virus lays low thousands of farm animals
Photo: DPA

Virus lays low thousands of farm animals

Published: 07 Feb 2012 09:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Feb 2012 09:00 GMT+01:00

Thousands of cows, sheep and goats have been infected with a flu-like virus across Germany, with the number of infected herds increasing sharply over the weekend.

According to a report in Bild newspaper, the number of herds infected with the “Schmallenberg virus” has jumped from 34 to 314 since Friday, and more and more farms are reporting premature births and deformed baby animals since the virus hit.

Eight cow herds, 12 goat herds and as many as 294 sheep herds have been affected by the virus so far, mostly in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, but individual cases have also been found in 11 other German states.

According to the report, it is only a matter of time until the whole of Germany is affected.

The virus is transmitted by insect bites and has flu-like symptoms, including diarrhoea and fever.

Since so many animals are infected at the moment, experts are predicting an increase in the number of infected animals in the spring, when the young are born.

The current cold snap has slowed the virus for now, but since there is no cure, experts are predicting that the rate of infection will increase in the coming months.

But health authorities stress that there is no cause for undue alarm, since humans are immune to the virus.

The Schmallenberg virus is named after a small town in North Rhine-Westphalia where it was first recorded last November. The name is still considered informal, as scientists are still identifying and classifying it.

It has since been discovered on farms in Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:53 February 7, 2012 by mos101392
Here we go again! When is the EU going to allow their citizens to buy healthier, tastier American beef? And please....don't be afraid that the European farmers will lose money once the public has gotten a taste of American beef. I've already heard the dumb argument about harmones...give me a break! If they are so concerned about unhealthy harmones, then they should ban all American tobacco products. We all know that will never happen since the Europeans smoke like chimneys. Come on guys, we import lots of European stuff, how bout some good ole Texas ribeye for a change. Would be nice to go to ALDI and see something other than schnitzel or Argentinian beef for a change. Again, don't be afraid, your farmers will be just fine!
13:03 February 7, 2012 by freechoice
HeeeeeeeeeHaw!
13:37 February 7, 2012 by zeddriver
@Freechoice

I take it from those words you would like to try Donkey?

If you were trying to mock mos. Yee haw would be the correct phrase.
15:38 February 7, 2012 by catjones
Anybody hungry for the 'bio' or 'natural' meat?
16:26 February 7, 2012 by raandy
Any chance this could be passed on to the Beaster's ?
19:00 February 7, 2012 by Gretl
Poor babies. I wonder if the higher incidence is related to the warmer fall and early winter not killing the viru, when animals are pregnant.
03:21 February 8, 2012 by Yah right
If we do as mos suggests we can look forward to antibiotic resistance in ourselves also. It is wise to look at the long term picture and keep hormones and antibiotics out of our food. Of course the whole world knows what a fabulous job is done by the US FDA in keeping its citizens free from agricultural induced harm. I just read an article about the layer of plasticized crap that people can peel off the leaves of some lettuce in the US.....even saw a video showing the crap. It is supposed to keep germs and molds from growing on produce.

Yes, let us all hurry down to an American supermarket for Frankenstein food.
16:27 February 8, 2012 by raandy
Yah right what has that to do with virus problem in Germany D bag?
16:36 February 9, 2012 by mos101392
@Yah right

"Of course the whole world knows what a fabulous job is done by the US FDA in keeping its citizens free from agricultural induced harm"

All I can say, I have more fear from Mad Cow disease and other European hebe jebes than from outside the EU. I say that Argentina is not the only beef producing country in the new world. America enforces a very strict process on produce and meats. The issue is money! The Europeans know full well, American beef is superior and this is the reason it is not imported in Europe. Please don't respond with the lame "HARMONE" excuse!
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