Switzerland: First case of epizootic hemorrhagic disease detected in a calf

Hygiene & Biosecurity

The veterinary authorities have detected epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in a calf on a farm in the canton of Bern. This is the first confirmed case of EHD in Switzerland. The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and primarily affects deer and cattle. It is not dangerous for humans.

Posted on Oct 12 ,00:10

Switzerland: First case of epizootic hemorrhagic disease detected in a calf

The epizootic hemorrhagic disease EHD ( for epizootic haemorrhagic disease) occurred in a calf on a farm in the municipality of Wohlen near Bern. The disease, transmitted by mosquitoes, can cause sudden high fever, lethargy, bleeding from various parts of the body and reluctance to eat. Bloody diarrhea may also occur. However, many cases, such as the current one in the canton of Bern, are mild. Of the livestock, cattle are most affected, with the clinical symptoms of EHD indistinguishable from those of bluetongue. Sheep and goats can also be infected but rarely show noticeable symptoms.

In Switzerland, EHD belongs to the category of animal diseases that need to be controlled. Their introduction and establishment is possible as long as susceptible animals as well as carrier animals are present. The greatest danger lies in the spread of infected mosquitoes. Mortality among farm animals is very low. There is therefore no obligation to kill the infected animal unless it becomes seriously ill. The same applies to the other animals on the farm.

With the occurrence of this case, Switzerland is no longer considered EHD-free, which leads to restrictions on international trade in farm animals and their semen. The disease has been spreading in Europe since 2022. Outbreaks have so far occurred in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France.

There is currently no vaccine against EHD approved in the European Union or Switzerland. The animal disease is subject to reporting requirements. Cases of epidemics and suspicious signs must be reported to the veterinarian. It is harmless to humans: it is neither transferable nor does consuming products that come from an infected animal pose a danger.

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