Livestock virus spreads to Cambridgeshire

Sheep
New cases of the Schmallenberg virus have been found on farms in East Anglia Photo: sxc

The Schmallenberg virus has been found for the first time in Cambridgeshire and new cases have been reported at livestock farms in Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The virus, which causes birth defects and miscarriages in sheep and cattle, first emerged in the Netherlands and Germany last year.

New cases have been reported at 29 farms in the UK since last week - bringing the total number to almost 121.

Scientists say it's very unlikely the Schmallenberg virus could spread to humans.

This is the county-by-county breakdown in the Anglia region:

  • 1 in Cambridgeshire (up 1 from last week)
  • 7 in Essex (up 2)
  • 5 in Hertfordshire (up 1)
  • 18 in Norfolk (up 1)
  • 15 in Suffolk (up 1)

According to the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency none of the affected farms have reported importing animals during 2011 from the affected areas in mainland Europe. Schmallenberg virus infection has only been identified in areas at risk of midge incursion from Northern Europe during summer / autumn 2011.