Co-ordination needed to eradicate disease

BVD can spread easily between cattle.
BVD can spread easily between cattle.

On July 1, 2016, the BVDFREE England campaign was launched.

This is a national BVD eradication scheme with the objective of eradicating BVD from England within the next six years.

BVD, or Bovine Viral Diarrhoea, is an infectious disease of cattle caused by a virus. It is spread through virus particles from Persistently Infected animals (PI’s). A PI is an animal that was infected in the womb. The virus is located through the entire body of the calf when it’s born and it excretes virus from every orifice, and it spreads to other cattle.

If early in-calf cows are nearby, they will be infected and potentially create another PI, thus the disease cycle continues.

BVD is currently costing the cattle industry £39.1million a year in losses, which equates to £30 to £40 per cow. Losses from BVD are made up from:

• Reproductive losses, such as abortion or deformed calves.

• Secondary diseases, for example pneumonia and scour outbreaks.

• Poor production, including poor weight gain.

• Deaths.

Vaccination is essential for cows to protect the unborn calf. But vaccination alone is not enough, even the best vaccines will struggle to protect every cow in the face of a PI running round shedding huge quantities of virus.

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland all have eradication schemes in place. Many countries have already eradicated it: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Belgium are all BVD free.

For national eradication, a co-ordinated approach is needed and everyone working together to eradicate it from every herd in the whole of the cattle industry is required.

For more information go to www.bvdfree.org.uk