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 'cover most of the country'

Scientists who thought that midges carrying the Schmallenberg virus had died over the winter now believe some survived and are circulating the virus in the UK.

Professor Peter Mertens of the Institute of Animal Health said:

On the basis it spread last year very effectively, I see no reason why it couldn't spread to cover most of the country this year.

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