In terms of our product we fully believe in the idea that our incinerators truly provide a technology for a cleaner world.
We have testing facilities in Europe where we thrive to improve our products in terms of environmental performance. We offer waste to energy technology and have developed unique systems for energy recycling, for example our incinerators can provide up to 5000 litres of hot water per hour, ideal for heating, and washing. We conform to strict regulations with regards to emissions, we provide a full range of DEFRA www.defra.gov.uk approved models, as well as state of the art pollution control systems.
Information about Schmallenberg virus (SBV)
This information sheet provides general advice on Schmallenberg virus for farmers,farm workers and others involved with farm livestock.
What is it?
Schmallenberg virus is a new virus which caused acute illness in dairy cattle in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium during the summer of 2011. More recently, it was found to have caused birth deformities in sheep, cattle and goats in these countries. The first UK cases in lambs were detected in January 2012 in Norfolk, Suffolk, and East Sussex.
How does the virus affect livestock?
Acute signs in infected dairy cows include fever, poor general condition, anorexia and reduced milk yield (by up to 50%). Some animals also had severe diarrhoea. Signs of illness disappeared after a few days and the animals appeared to recover unaffected. No acute signs were reported in sheep. No illness was seen in adult animals after October. However, in early December, high numbers of congenital (present at birth) malformations were seen in newborn lambs, many of which were stillborn. Malformations included twisted neck, abnormal curvature of the spine and limb contractures. Smaller numbers of deformed newborn calves and goats have also been reported. It appears that the dams were infected with the virus during early gestation, and that the virus has caused these abnormalities.
What should I do if I think an animal has Schmallenberg virus?
Please contact your local AHVLA Regional Laboratory http://vla.defra.gov.uk/vla/vla_rls.htm or SAC Disease Surveillance Centre http://www.sac.ac.uk/consulting/services/s-z/veterinary/contact/dsc/ if you require further guidance or information.
How is this disease spread?
As this is a new virus we are not yet certain how it is transmitted. Schmallenberg virus belongs to a group of viruses that are spread by midges and mosquitoes. The affected UK counties were identified as potentially being at risk from infected midges blown across the Channel from the affected areas in Europe and this is thought to be the most likely cause of transmission for the UK
Are there any health risks to humans?
At the moment, a Europe-wide assessment has concluded that Schmallenberg virus is unlikely to cause illness in people. As yet, no human cases have been detected in any country, and the most closely related viruses affect livestock but have not been shown to cause human disease. However, as this is a new virus, work is ongoing to identify whether it could cause any health problems in humans. As a precautionary measure, the HPA is offering to test anybody who has been in contact with an affected animal or their body fluids (including blood or products of conception) and who develops a fever in the two weeks after the contact. This involves giving a blood sample which will be tested for evidence of acute infection. This does not mean that those being tested will have the virus or can pass it on to others – just that we are checking that there are no effects in exposed people. If you have or have had a fever in the two weeks after contact with affected animals, or are concerned, please contact your local Health Protection Unit. Their details are at the end of this leaflet.
How do I reduce the risk of infection with this virus?
While more work is being done to understand more about this virus, existing regulations and guidance on good farm practices should be followed as they can help to reduce the risk to human and animal health from many infectious diseases:
- Wash hands thoroughly several times a day (especially if grossly contaminated) and always before eating, smoking and after finishing work for the day.
- Wash skin wounds immediately with soap and running water and cover with a waterproof dressing.
- Treat potentially infected animal tissues, such as afterbirths and aborted lambs, with caution. Handle with waterproof gloves.
- Investigate farm abortion and stillbirth outbreaks and consult your veterinary surgeon as appropriate.
- Treat soiled bedding removed from buildings where birth and abortions have occurred as a potentially high risk contaminated waste product. Promptly remove all afterbirths, aborted and stillborn lambs, calves, kids, and heavily contaminated litter. These must be disposed of in accordance with Animal By-Products regulations, preferably by incineration.
- Regularly clean and disinfect lambing sheds, calving pens and similar buildings to prevent accumulation of potentially contaminated material.
- Practice good vermin control; keep dogs and cats away from abortion material and parturition products.
Do pregnant women need to take any special precautions?
Pregnant women should continue to follow existing Defra guidance that advises them to avoid close contact with animals (including sheep, cows and goats) that are giving birth. This includes:
- 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.
More information is available here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2012/01/20/advice-to-pregnantwomen-to-avoid-close-contact-with-animals-that-are-giving-birth/ and on the HPA website: http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/Lambing/
Contact details for your local Health Protection Unit:
- Essex – 0845 1550069
- Kent – 0844 225 7968
- Suffolk, Norfolk & Cambridgeshire – 01842 767757 until 5pm on 1st February. After 5pm on 1st February – 0844 225 3546
- Surrey & Sussex – 0845 8942944