Farm vet Anna scoops top prize for BVD work

BVDZero Awards Finalists.
BVDZero Awards Finalists.

Diagnosing a disease outbreak at a farm is not usually good news, but if it comes with recognition at a European level, it is reason to celebrate.

This was the situation with farm vet Anna Bruguera, who submitted a case to the BVDZero Awards – and won first prize.

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is a highly contagious disease of cattle that can cause significant production losses and makes animals more susceptible to other diseases.

Since the 1990s many countries have started eradication schemes to control the virus that causes BVD, but it still has a significant presence across Europe.

The BVDZero Awards are organised in Europe and Brazil, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim. They encourage the search for cases to increase awareness of the disease and help to reduce its prevalence.

More than 30 cases were submitted for this year’s award, with Anna announced the winner at a ceremony in Barcelona. The award was presented by Prof Volker Moening, a world-leading expert on BVD whose work was cited in Anna’s Master’s thesis.

Anna’s study concerned a farm, which after controlling BVD and remaining free of the virus for four years, became re-infected through buying-in cattle. However, with prompt diagnosis from Anna and quick isolation measures to control the outbreak, the herd is on its way to regaining BVD-free status.

The lesson is just how easy it is for BVD-free herds to become infected.

In England, where there is no compulsory eradication scheme, we must work together to control this preventable disease. The voluntary BVDFree England scheme is making progress and there is funding for farmers to help with diagnosis and eradication of BVD.