Antibodies of Schmallenberg virus detected on the Åland Islands
Antibodies of the Schmallenberg virus have been detected in cattle on the Åland Islands. 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 studied samples were obtained in virus disease monitoring on cattle at the end of September. The cattle were born on the Åland Islands, and the discovery of antibodies indicates that the cattle had been infected with the virus at some stage. The virus may have arrived on the Åland Islands along with midges carrying the virus or with imported ruminants.
The Schmallenberg virus is a new virus in Europe: it was detected for the first time in Germany last autumn. The virus or its antibodies have been found in several European countries, also in Denmark and Sweden.
The Schmallenberg virus is transmitted from one ruminant to another via a midge bite. The virus spreads to domestic ruminants, camelids and wild deer in summer and autumn when midges are active. If the infection takes place during gestation, the virus may interfere with foetal development. Therefore, deformed lamb and calves were born last winter and spring in last year’s distribution area (Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, England). In adult animals infection is usually asymptomatic, or they may have high temperature, sometimes diarrhoea, and reduced milk production.
Evira is studying samples taken from ruminants sent for tests due to cases of premature calving and from imported ruminants for the Schmallenberg virus or its antibodies. Moreover, samples taken from cattle included in the virus disease monitoring programme in the coastal areas of Southern and South-Western Finland and the Åland Islands will also be tested for antibodies of the Schmallenberg virus.
Senior Researcher Ulla Rikula, tel. +358 50 563 2052, ulla.rikula