ISSN 2398-2993      

Schmallenberg virus


Veronica Fowler

Tammy Hassel

Synonym(s): orthobunyavirus




  • Order: bunyavirales.
  • Family: peribunyaviridae.
  • Genus: orthobunyavirus.
  • Species: schmallenberg virus.


  • The virus was named "Schmallenberg virus (SBV)" as this is the name of the German town where the first case was identified.

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Clinical Effects



  • SBV cases have been reported in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Luxembourg, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland and Estonia.


  • Because SBV was discovered very recently, not much is known about its lifecycle. It is presumed that SBV lifecycle resembles that of other bunyaviruses.
  • The virus enters the cell via endocytosis.
  • Changes in pH results in conformational changes which enable transcription to start.
  • Viral mRNA is produced and then translated.
  • The virus is believed to be assembled in tubular virus factories situated near the Golgi complex.
  • Mature virus particles are then transported in vesicles to the plasma membrane where they are released by exocytosis.


  • SBV is believed to be transmitted by insect vectors of the culicoides species and then vertically in utero.
  • SBV may also be transmitted via semen.
  • Direct transmission has not yet been demonstrated.

Pathological effects

  • Incubation period is 1-4 days.
  • Clinical signs include:
    • Fever.
    • Reduction in milk yield.
    • Diarrhea.
    • Abortion (often characterized by malformed animals, although the degree of malformation is dependent on the stage of gestation when infection occurred) Abortion and stillbirths.


Control via animal

  • Because SBV is considered to have a low impact on animal health, trade restrictions have not been implemented by the EU and OIE. Movement bans would be ineffective because the disease is transmitted by an insect vector.
  • Countries outside the EU have imposed restrictions on the import of live animals, semen and embryos.


  • Inactivated vaccines are available in some countries.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Wernike K, Conraths F, Zanella G et al (2014) Schmallenberg virus-two years of experiences. Prev Vet Med 116 (4), 423-34 PubMed.
  • Conraths F J, Peters M & Beer M (2013) Schmallenberg virus, a novel orthobunyavirus infection in ruminants in Europe: potential global impact and preventive measures. N Z Vet J 61 (2), 63-7 PubMed.
  • Doceul V, Lara E, Sailleau C, Belbis G et al (2013) Epidemiology, molecular virology and diagnostics of Schmallenberg virus, an emerging orthobunyavirus in Europe. Vet Res 15 (44), 31 PubMed.
  • Beer M, Conraths F J & van der Poel W H (2012) 'Schmallenberg virus'--a novel orthobunyavirus emerging in Europe. Epidemiol Infect 141 (1), 1-8 PubMed.


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