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Schmallenberg Virus Surveillance

During 2023 APHA will again offer free-of-charge testing of samples from lambs, kids, and calves born with arthrogryposis, or other musculoskeletal deformities.

A fresh brain sample (brain stem is preferred) will be tested free of charge (FOC) if submitted to APHA (under certain circumstances a whole submitted fetus and/or placenta will be tested free of charge). Please contact your local VIC for more information and to discuss appropriate sampling, or the submission of a fetus with placenta. The submission of a fetus and placenta may be preferable in order to investigate other causes of abortion, in addition to SBV being tested for without additional charge.

The detection of the virus in brain tissue is dependent on the stage of gestation that the fetus became infected, and therefore a PCR test may be negative despite SBV involvement. Therefore, in addition, serum samples can also be submitted from up to 6 cows/heifers or 6 ewes, including the dams of aborted calves/lambs to test for antibodies to SBV.

Further information on sampling for investigation of cattle and sheep abortions is
available in the diagnostic handbook, also on the APHA Vet Gateway:

(Cattle: Pages 27-28, Small Ruminants: Pages 35-36)

Information on investigating small ruminant abortions can also be found in this focus
article in the Veterinary Record:

  • Investigating abortions in small ruminants (2020) Veterinary Record 186, 116-117

Issued:10 February 2023