Press Release

Survey launched to understand impact of the rise in Schmallenberg virus on 2022 lambing season

Lambing Survey Schmallenberg virus

As the UK experiences a phase of heightened Schmallenberg Virus (SBV) risk, a new survey has been launched  for participating vet students on lambing placement to identify the prevalence of deformed lambs, which is an indicator of presence of SBV across the UK.

Launched by Ruminant Health and Welfare (RH&W) with the support of a number of UK vet colleges, the group has worked with its members, including the National Sheep Association (NSA), Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) to identify if SBV impacts lambing 2022.

“SBV is a relatively new disease to the UK, first identified in 2012-13, and is transmitted by biting midges. Often the first physical impact of SBV in sheep is lamb deformities at birth and we believe that the knowledge from the survey can increase understanding of both the epidemiology and potential management of this virus,” explains Nigel Miller, RH&W chair.

“As studies reveal that UK flocks are predicted to be entering a phase of increased risk, we’re grateful for the support from host farms to help us work with a new generation of vet students during their lambing placements. We are asking them to capture data on deformities seen in lambs over the lambing period which will provide evidence for the spread of SBV, and will offer a key insight of the national picture on SBV at a county level.”

Participating vet students have until 16 May 2022, with students asked to complete the survey. Once all data is collected and interpreted, a report will be produced and shared with vet students, host farms, and the wider industry in early summer.

For any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing RH&W directly via