Schmallenberg Virus

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. Despite a lull after the initial outbreak, cases of the disease reappeared in 2016-17.

Ewes affected by the virus are not ill and have no symptoms – the virus only affects the unborn lambs, causing abnormalities. 

A Europe-wide risk assessment has concluded that the Schmallenberg virus is very unlikely to cause illness in people. However, Earth Trust strongly advises against pregnant woman entering the lambing sheds or their vicinity to minimise contact with animals, such as ewes, lambs and other general livestock that might be in or around the lambing sheds, that could carry infections, not just Schmallenberg. 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 encourage a number of 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.