Friday, 2 March 2012
Not perhaps the best start to Spring. Andy Ryland, our Rural officer writes
You may have heard in the news about the Schmallenberg Virus that has been detected in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and now the UK. It is similar to some other animal diseases, which are transmitted by vectors, such as midges, mosquitoes and ticks. The virus has been associated with brief mild/moderate disease (milk drop, pyrexia, diarrhoea) in adult cattle and late abortion or birth defects in newborn cattle, sheep and goats.
No known Risk to humans
At the moment, a Europe-wide risk assessment has concluded that Schmallenberg virus is unlikely to cause illness in people. As yet, no human cases have been detected in any new country, and the most closely related viruses only cause animal disease. There is no treatment or vaccine currently available for this disease. As this is a new disease further work is needed to determine what control measures may be appropriate.
This is not a notifiable disease, but farmers are asked to contact their veterinary surgeon if they encounter cases of ruminant neonates or fetuses which are stillborn, show malformations or are showing nervous disease. Veterinary surgeons should then contact their AHVLA/SAC laboratory if they suspect infection with the virus. There is currently no blood test available but work is in progress to develop one.
For more information have a look at this Defra web site http://www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/a-z/schmallenberg-virus/
Treatment and control
Help for the Farming Community
Various help is at hand to the farming community and you may wish to make a note of the Farming Help website at www.farminghelp.org.uk which has links to the various support agencies.
Farm Crisis Network
FCN is a UK network of Christian volunteers from the farming community and rural churches, providing a national helpline and visiting service to farming people and families facing difficulties. They provide pastoral and practical support for as long as it is needed, helping people to find a positive way forward through their problems. FCN works closely with a number of local support groups providing a similar service.
Bob Baker and his team at the Churches' Regional Commission, Thirsk Rural Business Centre, Blakey Lane Thirsk, YO7 3AB Tel: 01845 525757 Mob: firstname.lastname@example.org are also able to provide support to the farmers who perhaps are getting in difficulties with their farming businesses.