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

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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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @03:57PM (#39714991) Journal
    I'm pretty sure that it's an argument in favor of assembling an international team of oddballs and hard-cases who have what it takes to do what needs to be done, against a background of entertaining interpersonal drama... Ideally, each one's backstory should be connected to broad stereotypes about their country of origin and somehow involve a hackneyed reason for their involvement in agricultural pathology. Of course, they should also be brooding and haunted, or hot, or both.

    I'm thinking a fiery Irish redhead attracted to the study of plant pathogens by a desire to see that a famine of the likes that claimed her ancestors is never repeated; along with a technocratic, but nerdy and mild-mannered, Japanese chemical engineer with a boundless confidence in our ability to outwit emerging pathogens. An apparently shallow and hard-partying Aussie vet(whose sensitive core can be shown during close-camera scenes of his delicate work to save adorable furry animals) rounds out the team's zoonotic expertise, along with a fatalistic epidemiologist(suggestions for an appropriate national stereotype welcome). Finally, there would be a 'native' around to provide the folksy wisdom of the traditional small farmers, from some country and backstory that makes this culturally-aware, rather than racist; and an American who started out studying agricultural chemistry under Borlaug; but left to serve with the Chemical Corps in Vietnam.

    It wouldn't actually, y'known, solve any problems; but the made-for-TV spinoff would be a hit!

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama