While work continues to discover whether Schmallenberg virus could cause health problems in humans, visitors to farms are advised to adopt the usual hygiene precautions, like washing hands after touching animals.
Schmallenberg virus has been recently identified on sheep and cattle farms in England. Currently, a Europe-wide assessment has concluded that Schmallenberg virus is unlikely to cause disease in people.
No human cases have been detected in any country, and the most closely related viruses only cause animal disease. However, as a new virus, work is ongoing to identify whether it could cause health problems in humans.
Visitors to farms are advised to adopt the usual hygiene precautions for farm visits, such as washing of hands after touching animals and particularly before eating.
Pregnant women are potentially at risk of acquiring a range of infectious diseases from animals, and should follow existing DEFRA guidance that advises them to avoid close contact with animals (including sheep, cows and goats) that are giving birth.
- avoiding contact with newborn or aborted lambs, calves or kids;
- avoiding handling clothing or boots that may have come into contact with these animals;
- ensuring that partners take appropriate hygiene precautions.