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Scientists Say Spread of Schmallenberg Virus Is 'Warning To Europe' 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the potential-involuntary-vegetarians dept.
redletterdave writes "The outbreak of a new livestock disease in western Europe last year, particularly harmful to offspring, could move further into areas surrounding the worst affected countries in the next cycle of new births, scientists say. The Schmallenberg virus — named after the German town where it was first detected in November — infected sheep and cows on at least 2,600 farms in eight EU countries last year, most likely between August and October. Thought to have been spread for hundreds of miles across Europe by biting midges and warm late summer winds, the virus has since been confirmed in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Spain and Britain. 'It is certainly a warning for the whole world in the sense that, unfortunately, new threats may emerge,' said Alberto Laddomada, a former virologist who heads the animal health unit at the European Commission. 'This virus has spread very, very quickly in the European Union amongst an animal population of many millions.'"
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Scientists Say Spread of Schmallenberg Virus Is 'Warning To Europe'

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  • It's the only way to keep yourself protected.

  • Are hobbits susceptible to this virus?

  • by Necroman (61604) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @03:27PM (#39714537)

    For the lazy, the wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] on the virus. While it can spread easily, it sounds like the virus has a short life span and there is a vacine already developed for it.

    Though, it can have some nasty effects on pregnant farm animals, it seems unclear (at least to me), if animals that were effected in the past then get pregnant afterwards still have birthing issues.

    • The real giggle would probably be a crossover into humans of a virus with substantial potential for horrid prenatal issues... Livestock diseases are quite expensive, especially if there is some vector in the wild that prevents wholly eradicating them even by scorched-earth means; but genuinely starving because the calves are sickly has somewhat gone out of fashion in the EU.

      A big spike in spontaneous abortions and horrid fetal malformations, on the other hand, would really turn up the cheer...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one who read it as "biting midgets" at first?

  • Maybe we should stop monocropping the world.

    • Right, a virus that attacks several species of ruminants is going to be controlled through raising different strains.

      Brilliant!

    • Maybe we should stop monocropping the world.

      Cutting down on the human population certainly would help the rest of the planet.

      • by Dishevel (1105119)

        For those who believe in that I can only say that each should start with themselves.

        • Nah, it's better to start with the short-sighted idiot over-consumers with a fetish for instant gratification and deep-rooted insecurities leading to the War on X (for all values of X.) Luckily, disease won't give a fuck. Most of us will die regardless. Make sure to thank Big Pharma for the antibiotic misuse on the way out!

  • One of the main thesis of Jared Diamond's Pulitzer winning book "Guns Germs and Steel" has been high population densities and close proximity between livestock and humans led to very virulent diseases and consequently highly immunized population of the survivors. Today the combination of population density and live stock in close proximity has shifted from Europe to China. But if ever a virus jumps from livestock to humans, we are done for. The pandemic could be catastrophic.
    • Good. The world could really use a LOT less humans.

      • by Dishevel (1105119)

        Please. I really wish you well in your endeavors to reduce human population.
        Now that the knowledge of the solution has been passed on by you to others. You can now start on the actual reduction.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "The pandemic could be catastrophic."

      We have billions of humans, which literally means we can afford to lose, as a species,, a few billion of those.

      Not that it wouldn't suck to be a casualty, but Nature is robust and designed to replace losses.

      • We're tried that, it hasn't helped. Countless wars has bred a human race that is genetically inferior and more aggressive.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Schmallenberg Virus, uuuh, Schmallenberg Virus?

  • Why do all these horrible new viruses emerge from Germany?
    • by pinkj (521155)

      Why do all these horrible new viruses emerge from Germany?

      Schadenfreude?

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Secret underground Nazi weapons labs?
      Occasional travel from the far side of the moon?
      Resisting autobahn travel on a car bumper makes for additional selection pressure?
      Lots of possibilities.

  • Someone please tell me that people all over are not demanding an increase in antibiotic usage as a result of this?

    • Why was I modded off-topic? Apparently the person has no notion of the fact that people continually demand antibiotics for *viral* infections.

  • Probably not, and I did not read all comments to see, but man... I need to get my eyes checked.
  • Good we need the human race to die
    Blame Global Warming
    Blame Capitalism
    Blame Monsanto
    Meat is Murder

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