Antibodies of Schmallenberg virus detected in mainland Finland


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Antibodies of the Schmallenberg virus have been detected in several cattle herds in South-West and South Finland. Based on the results of analyses completed on 29 October 2012, the virus has spread to South Finland during the summer and early autumn of 2012. The disease is not transmitted to humans and will not give rise to measures by the authorities, and any treatment can be agreed on with the local veterinarian.

The first antibodies of the Schmallenberg virus were detected in Finland in late September 2012 in samples taken from healthy cattle in the Åland Islands. Evira has continued to survey the spread of the disease and, on the basis of the results, the virus is found south of the line drawn between the towns of Vaasa and Savonlinna. Samples from 47 different farms have been analysed so far, and antibodies have been found in 25 of these farms. The studies continue.

The Åland Islands and the coastal areas in South-West and South Finland have been regarded as a risk area in terms of the disease. In future, samples from outside this risk area will also be tested for antibodies of the Schmallenberg virus. That way, it will be detected how far north and east the virus has spread so far.

The Schmallenberg virus is transmitted from one ruminant to another via midges. The spread of the virus depends on the ambient temperature and the number of midges suitable for spreading the disease and ruminants susceptible to the disease. When the temperature falls, the midges are no longer active, and this will stop the virus from spreading. It is currently not known whether the virus is able to overwinter in Finland. It is probable that midges carrying the virus will continue to arrive in Finland driven by southerly and south-westerly winds. The symptoms have not been reported as yet. Sometimes the viral infection may result in deformed foetuses.

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Senior Researcher Ulla Rikula, tel. +358 50 563 2052, ulla.rikula at-merkki.gif : 1 kB

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