Recent Irish Farmers Journal articles have demonstrated how Schmallenberg virus has over five years progressively colonised the whole island of Ireland. Although a relatively mild pathogen, in national terms, Schmallenberg had some very damaging and costly effects on individual sheep and cattle farms in terms of abortions and deformities at birth.

It is the first vector-borne disease to hit Ireland since malaria was present in Cork in the 1860s and serves as a good example as to how a virus which is spread by flying insects can establish and operate very effectively within Ireland. It shares many of those features with the bluetongue virus, which is worrying due to the negative trade impacts that the latter would have should it enter this country.