Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- France’s confirmed cases of the Schmallenberg livestock virus, which causes stillbirths and deformed young, fell in the disease’s second season of circulation, with the number of affected farms down 42 percent.
Schmallenberg cases in stillborn and newborn animals were confirmed on 1,834 French farms in 2012-13, from 3,164 farms in the previous season, when the virus first appeared in France, livestock epidemic surveillance network Plateforme ESA wrote in a report on its website.
The virus is named after the German town near where it was first identified in 2011, and has since been found in at least 16 European countries. Pregnant sheep, cattle and goats that are infected by the disease may deliver stillborn young or deformed, nonviable offspring that die quickly after delivery.
“The SBV virus circulated heavily in our territory from May 2012 to October 2012, then less intensively until the end of December 2012 and finally in a residual matter during the winter,” according to the report.
Schmallenberg in offspring was confirmed across the country, the report showed. France is the European Union’s largest beef producer, and the third-largest slaughterer of sheep behind the U.K. and Spain, Eurostat data show.
Cattle holdings with confirmed cases of the disease fell to 1,531 farms from 2,018 in 2012 through Aug. 31, with 3 percent of the herds already having suffered Schmallenberg cases in the first wave of 2012, the report showed.
The number of sheep farms where the disease was confirmed in young fell to 271 from 1,129. Of the affected sheep farms, 16 percent had recurring cases.
France’s confirmed Schmallenberg cases totaled 4,998 in the first two seasons of the disease’s circulation. Germany has found the disease on 2,478 farms since the first confirmation in November 2011, including on 1,459 cattle holdings, according to the country’s Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut.
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