Schmallenberg virus is a livestock disease detected in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. The virus was originally transmitted by midges that were either blown over or imported on animals from mainland Europe during the summer of 2011. Ewes affected by the virus are not ill and have no symptoms – the virus only affects the unborn lambs, causing abnormalities.
The Earth Trust is looking forward to welcoming everyone to our Lambing Weekends in March, but want people to be aware of the precautions that are in place. A Europe-wide risk assessment has concluded that the Schmallenberg virus is very unlikely to cause illness in people. However, we strongly advise against pregnant woman entering the lambing sheds or their vicinity to minimise contact with animals that could carry infections such as ewes, lambs and other general livestock that might be in or around the lambing sheds. Although the Schmallenberg virus specifically poses minimal risk to humans, the risks of other infections remains - for more information, see here. We will also be encouraging all our usual health and safety measures such as hand washing after visiting the lambing sheds.
For further information on the Schmallenberg virus, please see this NHS article.
For further information regarding pregnant women and livestock, please see this government advice.