We just learned that all imports of semen and embryos from England have been blocked because of an animal virus that is raging through the herds and flocks of Europe. The virus, called Schmallenburg virus, after the small town in western Germany where it was first detected, is carried by midges, a small flying, biting insect.
Apparently it is carried far by winds and some have now apparently been deposited in southern England. So far, three cases have been detected in cattle. While it makes adult cows sick, they recover quickly. It does, however, kill calves in utero.
The embryos and semen Devon has stored in England would seem to have been safely in quarantine since before the first cases appeared there, but since no one is absolutely sure what they’re dealing with, both British and American officials have closed down shipments.
It could be a serious blow to the future development of our program here.