As the UK experiences a phase of heightened Schmallenberg Virus risk, a new survey is now open for vet students on lambing placement to identify the prevalence of deformed lambs, which is an indicator of presence of Schmallenberg Virus across the UK.
Launched by Ruminant Health and Welfare (RH&W) with the support of a number of UK vet colleges, the group has worked with its members, including the National Sheep Association (NSA), Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) to identify if the Schmallenberg Virus impacts lambing 2022.
“Schmallenberg Virus is a relatively new disease to the UK, first identified in 2012 to 13, and is transmitted by biting midges. Often the first physical impact of Schmallenberg Virus in sheep is lamb deformities at birth and we believe that the knowledge from the survey can increase understanding of both the epidemiology and potential management of this virus,” explains Nigel Miller, RH&W chair.
“As studies reveal that UK flocks are predicted to be entering a phase of increased risk, we’re grateful for the support from host farms to help us work with a new generation of vet students during their lambing placements. We are asking them to capture data on deformities seen in lambs over the lambing period which will provide evidence for the spread of the virus, and will offer a key insight of the national picture on Schmallenberg Virus at a county level.”
The online survey closes on 16 May 2022, with students asked to complete it as soon as possible after the end of their placement. Once all data is collected and interpreted, a report will be produced and shared with vet students, host farms and the wider industry in early summer.
For any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing RH&W directly.