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Biologicals. 2003 Jun;31(2):113-8.

Bovine viral diarrhoea eradication and control programmes in Europe.

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  • 1Institute of Virology, School of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Buenteweg 17, 30559 Hannover, Germany.


The economic impact of BVDV infections has led a number of countries in Europe to start eradication or control programmes. While in both cases the primary step is identification and elimination of persistently infected (PI) animals, the strategy applied thereafter is dependent on the density and seroprevalence of the regional cattle population. One of the first countries to design and implement an eradication programme was Sweden in 1993, a country with a relatively low cattle density and no vaccination. For screening, an indirect antibody ELISA for serum, milk and bulk milk samples is being used. The basics of the Swedish model are no vaccination, voluntary participation, and financing of the entire scheme by the subscribing farmers. BVDV-free herds are certified and permanently checked. While in 1993 only about 35% of the herds were seronegative, about 87% were BVDV-free in 2001. The aim of control programmes in high density areas with high seroprevalence is to minimize economic losses by reducing the incidence of PI animals and thereby virus circulation (German model). Participation is voluntary, and parts of the costs are carried by the public animal insurance (Tierseuchenkasse). Screening is performed using an antigen capture ELISA with blood or serum. In Lower Saxony, for example, a herd is declared BVDV unsuspicious if all animals up to 36 months are BVDV antigen negative and the female offspring older than six months is vaccinated twice (an inactivated vaccine is used for basic immunization, and an attenuated live virus vaccine for boosting).

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