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McAleer welcomes island wide approach to tackle Schmallenberg virus

20 February, 2018 - by Declan McAleer

Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has welcomed confirmation from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) that an island wide approach will be taken to tackle Schmallenberg virus.

The party’s rural affairs spokesperson:

“As of 14 February 2018, 12 cases of Schmallenberg virus, all in sheep have been confirmed by Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

“As Schmallenberg virus is not a notifiable disease under the World Organisation for Animal Health disease listing the Department, is not required to introduce movement restrictions or additional controls and currently there is no treatment for the virus, but commercial vaccines to safeguard against it are available for use in cattle and sheep.

“I had written to the Permanent Secretary of DAERA seeking assurances that all necessary steps are being taken by the Department to address this issue. I am pleased that they have confirmed that they are working alongside their counterparts in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) to jointly tackle Schmallenberg virus on an island wide basis.

“I would urge Farmers be vigilant through the lambing and calving period. It is very important that, if producers encounter lambs or calves with deformities, they contact their vets so post-mortem examination can be carried out to establish whether Schmallenberg virus is the cause.

“Advice is available on the Department’s website on dealing with the Schmallenberg virus, which recommends that livestock owners contact their Private Veterinary Practitioner if they suspect the presence of the disease in their cattle or sheep.” 

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