Disease: Schmallenberg

This page provides general information about this condition. Text can be revealed by clicking on the green headers. Links to press releases, results from DWHC investigations as well as other useful documents and relevant literature available on the DWHC website can be found at the bottom of the page.


Schmallenberg virus (SBV) belongs to the Simbu sero-groep of the genus orthobunyavirus. It was first encountered in 2011 in blood samples from cattle in the town of Schmallenberg in Germany. Later that year SBV outbreaks in ruminants were reported in the Netherlands, Belgium and other parts of Germany as well as other countries across Europe. In 2013 the virus was not detected in surveys of livestock in the Netherlands, however, in 2014 the virus was shown to be circulating in both the Netherlands and Germany. It Is spread by mosquitoes, sandflies and midges and in pregnant animals the infection can cross the placenta to infect the fetus.

Susceptible species

Species of domestic ruminants (cattle, sheep and to a lesser exten, goats) and wild ruminants (red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, mouflon, European bison, Alpine ibex, elk and chamois) are susceptible to infection although in some wildlife species, this has  been determined by the presence of antibodies to the virus and is not necessarily associated with disease. There is also a report of antibodies being found in South American camelids (alpacas).

Signs in animals

SBV infection causes disease in domestic ruminants that is characterised by congenital abnormalities and still-birth. The abnormalities typically involve the nervous system and affect the musculoskeletal system. Infected adults can develop fever, diarrhoea and reduced milk production. It is currently unknown as to whether these signs are seen in infected wildlife species.

External information

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