The presence of the Schmallenberg virus has been confirmed in Jersey after reports of several lambs being stillborn or with malformations. Cattle, sheep and goats are susceptible to the virus, which is carried by midges. Farmers have been advised to contact their vets if they suspect illness in their animals and a presentation on the virus by a expert from the United Kingdom has been scheduled for early April. Schmallenberg virus causes illness and subsequent birth defects in cattle but only appears to affect the foetus of sheep and not the adult animal. The virus was first identified in Schmallenberg in the Westphalia area of Germany and has since spread to the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom. According to the experience in the UK it is thought that only a small percentage of the animals in a herd appear to be affected.
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