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Research Note: Schmallenberg Virus & Neurologic Signs

Clinician's Brief (Capsule)

Infectious Disease

|March 2014

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Schmallenberg virus (SBV), an orthobunya-virus, emerged in Europe in 2011 and spread to France in January 2012. In the following 3 months, more than 1,000 cases were reported in France, most involving stillborn or newborn lambs with congenital defects. Around this time, a dog breeding kennel in France reported a litter of Belgian shepherd puppies which showed neurologic signs including ataxia, exotropia, head tilt, and stunted growth. Four of the 5 puppies died at 5 or 6 weeks of age; the fifth puppy was euthanized for necropsy. This puppy tested negative for canine coronavirus, Neospora caninum, Toxoplasma gondii, and canine minute virus. The mother tested positive by virus neutralization test (VNT) for SBV. While VNT of the puppy was negative for SBV, cerebellar tissue did test positive for the presence of the SBV genome using RT-PCR. Of the remaining 7 female dogs in the kennel, 1 tested positive for SBV by VNT. There are very few reports of orthobunyavirus in dogs, and it is uncertain whether the described event is an isolated case or represents more widespread infection of SBV in dogs. Further studies should be performed to test for SBV in puppies that show neurologic signs.


Schmallenberg virus infection in dogs, France, 2012. Sailleau C, Boogaerts C, Meyruiex A, et al. EMERG INFECT DIS 19:1896-1897, 2013.

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