Bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV-1) is an important bovine pathogen, exacerbating poor health and the productivity of cattle. The aims of this study were to detect the efficacy of vaccination programmes in lowering the seroprevalence of BHV-1 gE within the dairy herd and to follow the dynamics of the infection in non-vaccinated herds with uninfected heifers. A two-year longitudinal study was carried out on seven herds that were vaccinated, and in five herds with uninfected heifers without applying a control programme. After the start of the vaccination programme, calves born remained free from the virus. However, in one herd, 7 per cent (95 per cent CI 2 to 18) of these animals showed antibodies to BHV-1 two years after the first vaccination. A decline in BHV-1 antibody prevalence was found in vaccinating herds. Among the five herds not under the control programme, one experienced active virus spread, although one herd experienced self-clearance of the virus. In the herds with high BHV-1 prevalence, vaccinating all cattle from three months of age twice a year with a commercial inactivated marker vaccine efficiently protected offspring from becoming infected, and lowered the prevalence of BHV-1 within the herd. A small proportion of herds may experience self-clearance of the virus.
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Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed