Schmallenberg Virus prompts Cornish farms vigilance call

Farmers have been urged to be vigilant after a new animal illness which causes birth defects in livestock was confirmed in Cornwall.

The disease called Schmallenberg Virus is thought to be spread by midges.

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs and the National Farmers Union are urging farmers and vets to report any suspicious cases.

It can lead to late abortions and birth deformities in newborn sheep, goats and cattle.

The location of where the single case has been confirmed is not known.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, which detected the disease, said most cases in the UK had been found in sheep.

Schmallenberg Virus first emerged in the Netherlands and Germany last year.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has suggested there is a low risk to public health.

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