Science - October 2, 2012

Rapid spread Schmallenberg virus due to midges

The midge was responsible for the rapid spread of the Schmallenberg virus among livestock last year, according to new research results from the Central Veterinary Institute.

knutten.jpg
knutten.jpg

photo: .

The CVI examined whether three of the midge species found in the Netherlands in 2011 carried the Schmallenberg virus. This virus had caused deformities in lambs and calves in the Netherlands last year. All three midge species - a type of gnat - carried the virus. These midges were also involved in the spread of the bluetongue virus in Europe in 2006 and 2007. The veterinary researchers have been collecting midges since then to monitor if they carry the bluetongue virus. They are now examining these midges for the presence of the Schmallenberg virus.
CVI researchers found that 0.5 percent of two of these midge species carried the Schmallenberg virus last autumn. This does not seem much, but is higher by a factor of 10 than the bluetongue virus infection transmitted by these midges five years ago, reports CVI in Emerging and Infectious Diseases. As such, this had enabled the virus to be spread rapidly all over the Netherlands.

Re:act