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Schmallenberg virus: a cyclical problem
  1. Magdalena Larska
  1. Department of Virology, National Veterinary Research Institute, Puławy, Poland
  1. Email: m.larska{at}

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Whether Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is a serious threat to ruminant breeding in Europe or is just another of the transboundary and emerging pathogens becoming popular recently due to changes in climate, political situations or scientific approaches remains under debate. The virus was first identified from outbreaks of rather mild disease in cattle in Schmallenberg (hence the name) in Germany in 2011.1 Later, it was determined that the virus is transmitted by blood-feeding midges, just like bluetongue virus, which had emerged in the same region of Europe some four years earlier.

SBV is an equivalent of Akabane virus, which is found in tropical areas of Asia and Australia and, like SBV, causes reproductive failure and affects mostly newborn ruminants.

The spread of SBV in Europe was dramatically fast and seroprevalence reached 100 per cent in many areas by 2012. There are many hypotheses about how the virus managed to …

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