Alnorthumbria offers new vaccine

Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group can now offer the long-awaited Bovilis SBV vaccine for the Schmallenberg virus to farmers in the catchment area.

The Schmallenberg virus has spread rapidly through the UK since arriving in 2011 and evidence suggests that it was brought to the UK from infected midges blown across the channel.

Although not extensive in Northumberland, Alnorthumbria first found evidence of infection on three farms

in 2012 and confirmed disease in calves on two farms this year.

Insect-borne viruses used to be restricted to tropical areas of the world, but now they are becoming an increasing problem further afield.

The new disease has caused many losses for farmers among their livestock.

With vet advice, farmers can decide how best to use the vaccine to protect their animals.

John Macfarlane, of Alnorthumbria, said: “We are delighted that a vaccine against Schmallenberg is now available and ahead of schedule. Since the first cases were diagnosed in 2011, the virus has spread rapidly, and within our region, we have seen a spread of the disease in the past year.

“While Schmallenberg is not a notifiable disease, we do ask that farmers contact their vet for guidance if they encounter cases of ruminant neonates, stillborn foetuses, show malformations or show signs of nervous disease.”