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Institute of Diagnostic Virology (IVD)

National Reference Laboratory for Schmallenberg Virus (SBV)

Schmallenberg virus (SBV), an orthobunyavirus (family Bunyaviridae) of the Simbu serogroup, was detected for the first time in late 2011 in Germany. The virus, which is transmitted by Culicoides biting midges, infects predominantly domestic and wild ruminants. Starting near the German-Dutch border the virus has spread extremely fast and caused a large epidemic in European livestock. Further members of the Simbu serogroup (e.g. Sathuperi, Shamonda, Aino, and Akabane viruses) are present in Australia, Asia, and Africa and cause a mild transient disease. Infected adult animals show none or only mild symptoms such as fever, a decrease in milk production, or diarrhea. The viraemic period lasts only a few days. However, an infection of naïve animals during a critical phase of pregnancy may induce severe congenital malformations, premature birth or stillbirth and reproductive disorders; an SBV-infection of pregnant sheep leads more often to the birth of malformed offspring than in cattle. An infection late in gestation may result in the birth of seropositive calves and lambs.   

An infection with Schmallenberg virus is a reportable animal disease. 

  • Contact for federal and state authorities for questions relating to SBV diagnostics 
  • Genome and antibody detection for verification of unclear results 
  • Characterization of virus isolates 
  • Supply of reference material (virus, sera)
  • Control, standardization, and improvement of test methods
  • Batch release of SBV diagnostic tests
  • Organization of qualification measures, e.g. for staff of veterinary diagnostic authorities 
  • Organization of national ring trials
  • Participation in working groups and research projects of the European Union 
  • Research on SBV and further Simbu serogroup viruses
  • Genome detection by RT-PCR 
  • Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis 
  • SBV-antibody detection by ELISA
  • Detection of antibodies against SBV and further Simbu serogroup viruses by means of neutralization assays and indirect immunofluorescence test
  • reference sera 
  • Sample panels for validation of diagnostic tests
  • Regulation on Reportable Animal Diseases