x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Disease outbreak in Europe prompts UAE to monitor livestock imports

The UAE is to regulate the import of cattle, sheep and goats from countries with recorded cases of Schmallenberg virus.

ABU DHABI // The UAE is to regulate the import of cattle, sheep and goats from countries with recorded cases of Schmallenberg virus, an emerging livestock disease.

Outbreaks of the disease in countries across Europe and a subsequent bulletin by the World Organisation for Animal Health prompted the decision by the Minister of Environment and Water, Dr Rashid bin Fahad.

Importers will have to provide health certificates for animals proving they are from farms and areas free of the virus. Animals must also be inspected by a government-approved veterinarian, and should be free of symptoms at least 28 days prior to shipment.

The virus is carried by mosquitoes and affects cattle, sheep and goats but is not dangerous to humans.

Schmallenberg virus, which causes fever and reduced milk yield in affected animals, was first discovered in November 2011 in Germany.

A month later, cases were confirmed among cows in the Netherlands.

The virus peaked in Europe between February and March last year. As of April 2012, 3,444 herds were reported with the virus.

Studies conducted by the Robert Koch Institute in Germany and the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands concluded that people who had been in contact with infected animals did not experience symptoms of the disease. Viruses closely related to the Schmallenberg virus are also not known to cause disease in humans.

The virus causes congenital malformations in newborn animals. There is no treatment or vaccine available.

vtodorova@thenational.ae