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THE emergence of a novel virus in ruminants in northern Europe was described by the Dutch and German authorities late last year following their initial investigations, and their findings were first reported by Defra on December 20, 2011 (www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/monitoring). The virus is closely related to known orthobunyaviruses, such as Akabane and Shimane viruses. These generally cause mild, transient clinical signs, often in cattle, are transmitted by insect vectors and may lead to abortion and congenital malformations in offspring infected during gestation. This new virus (Schmallenberg virus or …
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