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First documented clinical case of Schmallenberg virus in Norway: fetal malformations in a calf
  1. H. Wisløff, DVM, PhD,
  2. B. S. Nordvik, Bioengineer,
  3. S. Sviland, DVM and
  4. R. Tønnessen, DVM, PhD
  1. Norwegian Veterinary Institute, P. O. Box 750, Sentrum, Oslo N-0106, Norway
  1. E-mail for correspondence:helene.wisloff{at}vetinst.no

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Since its emergence in Germany in 2011, Schmallenberg virus (SBV) has caused outbreaks of congenital malformations in ruminants throughout Europe (Hoffmann and others 2012, Varela and others 2013). In Norway, SBV was first detected in biting midges (Culicoides species) trapped in the southern part of the country in September 2012 (Tønnessen and Jonassen 2013). Furthermore, during late autumn 2012, serological surveillance in cattle revealed presence of antibodies to SBV in bulk milk samples from 17.3 per cent (413/2391) of the dairy herds tested in southern Norway (Tønnessen and Jonassen 2013). Here, the first clinical case of SBV in Norway, an aborted calf with malformations, is described.

SBV, a negative sense single-stranded RNA virus, is classified within Bunyaviridae and belongs to the Simbu serogroup of genus Orthobunyavirus (Hoffmann and others 2012). The virus is arthropod-borne and primarily infects domestic and wild ruminant species (Doceul and others 2013). Transmission is mediated by insect vectors, mainly biting midges (De Regge and others 2012, Rasmussen and others 2012, Elbers and others 2013) and can cause acute disease in cattle, characterised by inappetence, short-lasting hyperthermia, drop in milk yield and diarrhoea (Hoffmann and others 2012). In utero infection with SBV has previously been reported to cause severe congenital malformations in lambs, kids and calves in several European countries (Doceul and others 2013).

In April 2013, two cows in a herd of five beef …

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