EFSA has started to collect data from the affected countries and will soon give EU member states a list of possible scenarios on how the newly discovered virus could evolve in the coming months. “A preliminary analysis of the likely epidemiological scenarios in animals in the next few months will be delivered next week,” an EFSA spokesperson told GlobalMeatNews.
“EFSA will also work together with member states to ensure that the epidemiological data that exist – and those the member states will produce and the Authority will subsequently collect – can be used to maximum effect through the provision of guidance. Periodical reports will be shared on the status and analysis of the data collected,” an EFSA statement added.
A thorough report on the disease, its mode of transmission, symptoms and dangers will then be published. The spokesperson said: “An overall assessment of the impact of this infection on animal health, animal production and animal welfare together with a characterisation of the pathogen should be delivered by end May/June. It is too early to say what the outcome will be.”
The Schmallenberg virus can be found in sheep and cattle, and causes high fever, reduced milk yield and birth defects in pregnant animals. It was detected in late 2011 in Germany, and has since spread to Belgium, the Netherlands, France and the UK.
In December 2011, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) studied the possibility of transmission of Schmallenberg from animals to humans, and concluded that: “It is unlikely that this virus can cause disease in humans, but it cannot be completely excluded at this stage.”