Schmallenberg virus manages to kill thousands of lambs in UK

February 27th, 2012 - 8:18 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

London, Feb 27 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Thousands of lambs have been killed in England following an outbreak of the deadly schmallenberg virus. The virus has been confirmed in about 74 farms in the country with some farmers reporting that they have lost as much as a fifth of their livestock.

Vet officials say the disease got to the country through Europe last month. About 1,000 farms on the continent have been affected by the virus. Officials are working around the clock to ensure that the disease is controlled. It affects sheep and cattle among other animals but there are fears that the condition could spread to humans.

Scientists explain that the condition causes lambs to be born with deformities or dead. The challenge is to determine how the disease is transmitted. Farmers explain that the animals show no signs of illness until they give birth to the babies making it almost impossible for any intervention to be made.

The National Farmers’ Union has spoken about the epidemic and how it is affecting their businesses.

Alistair Mackintosh of the NFU told reporters that, “For any business to lose 20 per cent of your stock would be a huge blow. For a farmer it is catastrophic. If it was 50 per cent you would be put out of action.”

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