Industry Update: Schmallenburg Virus and the EU

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Published on: September 23, 2015

As many of you know, germplasm exports from the European Union have been significantly affected by the emergence of Schmallenburg virus in Europe. Restrictions went into effect February 2012, and according to USDA APHIS, “The virus, thought to be distributed by flying insects such as midges and possibly mosquitos, is not known to be present in the U.S., and has not been reported to be of human health concern. Infection with the virus causes transient disease in adult cattle, sheep and goats, resulting in production losses; but has also been associated with a high percentage of fetal malformations, abortions, dystocias and death of infected pregnant animals. No treatments or vaccines are currently are available, and testing is currently limited in nature.”

Currently cervid and camelid germplasm originating in the European Union are not subject to these additional restrictions, but the only bovine germplasm that may be imported to the United States must have been collected prior to June 1, 2011. As of May 2015, APHIS VS has renegotiated with the European Union to allow for import of ovine and caprine semen in light of the Schmallenberg outbreak. This recent reopening of the border for small ruminant semen promises to have implications for those of you performing small ruminant ET and laparascopic artificial insemination. The importation of small ruminant embryos from the European Union is still restricted and is presently allowed only from Australia and New Zealand. Small ruminant semen may now be imported to the United States from Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Canada, or the European Union. Current health certificate requirements for caprine or ovine semen entering the United States from the European Union are as follows:

Schmallenberg virus: the semen for export to the United States was either:

Collected prior to June 1, 2011;


The semen in the consignment was collected after June 1, 2011 from donors that were negative to two serum neutralization tests (using a 1:16 cutoff titer) for Schmallenberg virus, with the first performed within 30 days prior to collection, and the second between 28 and 60 days after collection. Tests were performed in a laboratory approved by the National Competent Authority.

Our organization has seen a significant increase in interest in small ruminant ET over the past few years, and AETA has offered well-attended, focused small ruminant ET wetlabs at past conferences. This October in Niagara Falls, David Matsas will present research on superovulating small ruminants using MAP-5 (hyaluronan). The association has also produced a small ruminant ET training video, which provides detailed protocols in addition to a high-quality video featuring surgical small ruminant embryo collection. We would encourage members interested in pursuing small ruminant ET services to contact our board or the education committee with additional ideas regarding educational outreach in this particular area in the future.


AETA Education Committee

Kevin A. Lindell, DVM, MS

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