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BVD eradication: lessons from a pilot scheme
  1. Damien Barrett, MVB, MVM, MSc, CertCHP, DipECBHM
  1. Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Sligo Regional Veterinary Laboratory, Doonally, Sligo, Republic of Ireland
  1. e-mail: damien.barrett{at}

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BOVINE viral diarrhoea (BVD) is considered by both farmers and veterinary surgeons in a number of countries to be one of the most significant infectious diseases affecting cattle. Several Scandinavian countries and Austria have successfully eradicated BVD, and eradication is well advanced in Switzerland. National BVD eradication programmes began in Scotland in 2010 and in Germany in 2011. An initial voluntary BVD eradication scheme began in the Republic of Ireland on January 1 this year, which is planned to become mandatory in January 2013. Industry stakeholders in Northern Ireland are also considering how to tackle BVD, with a view to all-island eradication.

BVD control programmes have been classified as systematic and non-systematic (Lindberg and Houe 2005). Systematic control involves a widespread reduction in the prevalence of BVD virus (BVDV) and persistently infected (PI) animals, typically on a sectoral, regional or national basis. Progress needs to be monitored and evaluated. Non-systematic control is carried out on an individual herd basis, with no coordinated simultaneous actions in other herds.

BVDV control programmes are based upon the following three pillars (Lindberg and Houe 2005):

  • Biosecurity – the emphasis is on preventing the introduction and/or contact with PI animals and the introduction of dams carrying PI fetuses;

  • Virus elimination – this applies to infected herds only, where all PI animals are systematically removed;

  • Monitoring – this involves monitoring the effectiveness of virus elimination in infected herds and detecting new infections in previously BVD-free herds. This is a key step in assessing the overall progress of a control programme.

In a paper summarised on p 73 in this week's issue of Veterinary Record, Booth and Brownlie (2011) describe a …

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