Warning of animal disease risk

Experts are warning that a new animal disease which causes severe birth defects and miscarriages in livestock could spread across the whole of Britain. There have been 276 cases of Schmallenberg virus in cattle and sheep on farms since early 2012.

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Schmallenberg virus could be making a comeback

The Schmallenberg virus, which causes cows and sheep to give birth to deformed or stillborn offspring, could be making a comeback, tests have shown.

Pregnant cows and sheep are affected by the virus Credit: ITV News

Test carried out on around 150 cattle and more than 1,000 sheep belonging to the Royal Veterinary College since March have shown that a small number of animals which had previously tested negative for the disease have now tested positive.

The Schmallenberg virus first emerged last year in the Netherlands and Germany. It is thought that virus-carrying midges were blown across the Channel where they infected 276 farms in the UK since early 2012.

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