Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) is an endemic viral disease of cattle. Infection of cattle with BVD can cause a wide range of health problems such as abortion, infertility, respiratory and gastro-intestinal disorders.
The disease is mainly spread by a small population of persistently infected (PI) cattle. PI cattle are infected by their mothers in the uterus while their immune systems are immature, allowing them to become immunologically tolerant to the virus. As a result, PI cattle remain infected and continue to spread the virus for the rest of their lives.
Due to its significant economic and welfare implications, the Scottish cattle industry, supported by Scottish Government, embarked upon an ambitious Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme in 2010. There is now also an official scheme in Northern Ireland and voluntarily schemes in Wales and England.
The following short animation includes summary information on the importance of biosecurity in preventing the transmission of bovine viral diarrhoea virus:
Research at Moredun is focused on understanding the diversity of BVDV viruses in the UK, with the potential to help us understand how new outbreaks of BVDV might occur at late stages in the eradication. Diagnostic samples from PI animals are being collected and the sequence of a short region of the BVDV genome is defined for each sample. Between 2012 and 2018, about 4000 samples were analysed (about two-thirds of these from Scotland) and illustrate the distribution of BVDV strains within the UK and provide a baseline dataset for analysis later in the eradication.
Moredun is contributing to the Scottish BVDV eradication scheme. The Scottish cattle industry, supported by Scottish Government, embarked upon a Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme in 2010. The impact of this programme has been significant: over 90% of Scottish breeding holdings now have a negative BVD status.
The programme is based on the use of herd- and individual level diagnostic testing to assure herd and animal BVDV status, with restrictions on the movement of PI cattle and on movement from holdings which have a non-negative BVDV status.
Current interests and future aims:
This work is funded by the Scottish Government via the RESAS Strategic Research Programme and the EPIC centre of expertise in animal disease outbreaks.
For further Information about BVD please see Moredun Newssheet 5.20 – Control of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea and Moredun Newssheet 6.10 – Biosecurity for Key Livestock Diseases: