Samples of bulk milk were taken from all 33,636 Dutch dairy herds in November 1994 and tested for the presence of bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1) antibodies with a gB-blocking ELISA. Sixteen per cent of the herds had a negative BHV-1 status in the bulk milk. Farms with only dairy cows were 1.9 times more likely to have a negative or weakly positive BHV-1 status than herds which also had beef/veal animals. Farms in areas containing less than one herd/km2 were 1.5 times more likely to have a negative or weakly positive BHV-1 status than herds in areas with more than three herds/km2. Differences in numbers of animals per unit area were not significantly associated with BHV-1 status. The probability of herds having a negative or weakly positive BHV-1 status decreased linearly with herd size by a factor of 1.2 per 10 animals. The purchase of stock was significantly associated with a negative or weakly positive BHV-1 status, but there was an interaction between farm type and purchase of stock. For farms with both dairy and beef/veal animals there was a weak association between the purchase of stock and BHV-1 status. For pure dairy herds the probability of having a negative or weakly positive BHV-1 status decreased linearly with the numbers of purchased stock by a factor of 1.3 per 10 animals purchased.
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