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Schmallenberg virus expands its geographical range in Northern Ireland

Statistics from

Northern ireland disease surveillance, January to March 2018

  • Evidence of Schmallenberg virus found in previously unaffected counties

  • Pneumonia and otitis media caused by Mycoplasma bovis in cattle

  • Mycotic infections in cattle and sheep

  • Johne’s disease in sheep


Respiratory diseases

Respiratory disease was identified in 67 cattle postmortem submissions between January and March 2018. The most common pathogens identified included Mycoplasma bovis (24 cases), Mannheimia haemolytica (11 cases), Pasteurella multocida (seven cases), Trueperella pyogenes (four cases) and Histophilus somni (two cases).

Pneumonia due to Mycoplasma bovis with otitis media

Three cases of pneumonia due to M bovis accompanied by otitis media were diagnosed during the quarter. In one case affecting a five-month-old calf there was severe pneumonia with red-purple consolidation of anteroventral lung and miliary foci of caseous necrosis. Histologically, the lung lesions were suggestive of M bovis infection.

There was also thick yellow caseous material bilaterally in the tympanic bullae (Fig 1). As well as having received treatment for respiratory signs the calf had developed a head tilt. M bovis was detected by PCR in both lung and middle ear material.

Fig 1: Otitis media in a calf due to Mycoplasma bovis. Caseous necrosis in the tympanic bullae is indicated by the yellow and black arrows

In a separate case of pneumonia and otitis media due to M bovis, bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) was detected as a concurrent infection.

About this report

This summary has been compiled by the Veterinary Sciences Division of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland (AFBI), and is based on diagnostic submissions to the AFBI’s veterinary laboratories at Stormont, Belfast and Omagh, County Tyrone. The AFBI operates a farm animal disease surveillance service on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland

Alimentary diseases

Ruminal obstruction

A large volume of plastic wrap was found in the rumen of an emaciated four-year-old Friesian suckler cow (Fig 2). The plastic wrap weighed 30 kg and filled most of the rumen volume. The wrap was of the type used around bales of silage. It was considered likely that the wrap …

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