The purpose of this study was to assess the probability that the introduction of one or more bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1)-seropositive animals would result in the bulk milk of a clean herd becoming BHV-1-positive. Probability calculations (stochastic and deterministic) were based on the distribution of the log(titre) of 828 positive animals and the daily milk production of the herds and of the individual cows. They showed that the probability in average sized herds of 45 dairy cows is only between 10 and 25 per cent and that even in small herds of 25 cows the introduction of a positive animal would go undetected in the majority of cases. It is concluded that if the bulk milk has become BHV-1-positive it is most likely that the infection has spread.
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