Irish Farmers Beware: BVD Outbreaks Detected in Recent Weeks!

"Minister McConalogue Calls for Vigilance as Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Eradication Program Reaches Crucial Stage"

The Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has called for renewed caution as the Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme approaches a crucial stage. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has warned that the breeding season is a high-risk period for the generation of BVD persistently infected (PI) cattle. As the national prevalence of the illness decreases, so too does the natural immunity to BVD. Moreover, reduced levels of vaccination across the country mean that many herds are at increased susceptibility to infection.

The DAFM has advised that the incursion of the condition into herds with reduced immunity can have devastating impacts and lead to the development of further BVD persistently infected cattle. In recent weeks, epidemiological investigations have identified the emergence of a small number of local clusters of infection, with infection having spread between herds. The department believes this is due to the movement of animals, equipment and people. In this context, the department is asking herd owners to refocus on biosecurity to protect their own herds and support the final push towards BVD freedom.

The DAFM has encouraged particular attention to be paid to a number of aspects ahead of the breeding season. Herds where infection has been identified should engage with the Animal Health Ireland (AHI) Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) programme without delay, expedite the removal of all infected cattle, and complete the vaccination programme. Herds that were positive in 2022 should complete their 2023 vaccination programme. Additionally, herds that have been notified of a BVD-positive animal in their neighbourhood, which signals an increased risk to their herd, should seek advice from their veterinary practitioner to review their biosecurity practices, including vaccination policies, and enhance as necessary.

Minister McConalogue said, โ€œWorking with Animal Health Ireland, Irish farmers have made tremendous progress in the elimination of BVD. The programme is now at a critical juncture, and I am encouraging all farmers to be mindful of the importance of biosecurity practices, including the washing and disinfection of any shared machinery or facilities, to reduce the risk of infection so that we as a country can achieve BVD freedom, providing long-term benefit for livestock farmers in the country. Huge progress has been made, and the finishing is truly in sight. By working collectively and collaboratively, we can ensure we eradicate BVD as soon as possible.โ€

The DAFM has been implementing the BVD eradication programme since 2012, and since then, the national prevalence of BVD has decreased from 0.66% to 0.02% in 2021. The programme has been successful in reducing the number of PI animals in the country, which is crucial in preventing the spread of BVD.

The BVD eradication programme has been a collaborative effort between the DAFM, AHI, and farmers. The programme aims to identify and remove PI animals from herds, prevent the birth of PI animals, and promote biosecurity measures to reduce the spread of BVD. The programme has been successful in reducing the number of PI animals in the country, which is crucial in preventing the spread of BVD.

In conclusion, the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has urged farmers to refocus on biosecurity measures to protect their herds and support the final push towards BVD freedom. The breeding season is a high-risk period for the generation of BVD persistently infected (PI) cattle, and reduced levels of vaccination across the country mean that many herds are at increased susceptibility to infection. The DAFM has advised that the incursion of the condition into herds with reduced immunity can have devastating impacts and lead to the development of further BVD persistently infected cattle.

Categories: Agriculture