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Serological survey of British sheep flocks for evidence of exposure to ovine pestiviruses
  1. Amy Jennings1,
  2. Emily Gascoigne2,
  3. Alastair Macrae3,
  4. Elizabeth Burrough3 and
  5. James Patrick Crilly4
  1. 1Farm Animal Practice, RDSVS and the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2NA, Synergy Farm Health, Dorchester, UK
  3. 3DHHPS, RDSVS and the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  4. 4Larkmead Veterinary Group, Cholsey, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence; amy.jennings{at}


Ovine pestiviruses have the potential to reduce productivity in the British sheep flock. However, their prevalence and impact are currently poorly understood. This study aimed to estimate the exposure to pestiviruses in adult breeding ewe stock. Blood samples collected for metabolic profiling before lambing were tested using an ELISA that detected antibodies raised to both bovine viral diarrhoea virus and Border disease virus. A group of 15 animals were tested per flock. A total of 34 farms were tested, of which 13 had at least one seropositive animal. In those positive flocks between one and nine of the animals tested antibody-positive. Positive flocks were identified in all regions of Great Britain. This work suggests that exposure to ovine pestiviruses is widespread, and that it is timely to investigate flock-level prevalence and possible production impacts of endemic infection.

  • border disease
  • prevalence
  • sheep
  • pestiviruses
  • ovine
  • britain
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  • Funding The testing in this study was partly funded by Boehringer Ingelheim. Boehringer Ingelheim had no role in selecting the samples or in the analysis or interpretation of the results.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study was reviewed and approved by the RDSVS Ethical Review Committee (reference 31.17 and 67.17).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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