‘Quick work needed’ to tackle virus

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Countries within the European Union have been told to work rapidly to develop a vaccine for the Schmallenberg virus, which has now been found on a number of UK farms.

The NFU vice-president Gwyn Jones met European Commission officials and farm leaders from across Europe to discuss the worrying spread of Schmallenberg at an EU Animal Health Advisory Committee in Brussels.

Mr Jones, who is also the vice chairman of the Copa Animal Health and Welfare Group which represents all EU farming unions, said: “This deadly disease is spread by midges that have no respect for member state boundaries.

“It is therefore important that we work together with our neighbours to share information and technology to stop its spread.”

“The number of livestock infected with the virus continues to rise – there are now nearly 800 confirmed cases across 5 countries.”