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Bovine Viral Diarrhoea

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is a viral infection of cattle.

BVD causes significant economic losses to both dairy and beef farms through its effects on health, production and reproduction. BVD also has animal welfare implications.

BVD can cause a variety of clinical outcomes that range from sub-clinical infections to more severe disease. These include immune suppression, abortion, infertility and the always fatal mucosal disease.

The infection is mainly spread by Persistently Infected (PI) cattle. These are born with the disease after becoming infected in the womb. PIs can go on to live into adulthood without obvious signs of disease. PI cattle will have BVD all their lives and they shed virus extensively, infecting cattle around them.

In Wales an industry BVD group was set up to consider options and make recommendations on the best approach for eradicating BVD. The approach being developed is likely to propose an all Wales voluntary phase of close collaboration between cattle keepers and veterinarians. This phase could be up to 5 years in duration. In trying to eradicate BVD, it is considered that legislation will be needed, i.e. a compulsory phase, to ensure that PI animals are removed and culled.

The Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework (AHWF) Group have welcomed and endorsed the BVD sub group’s suggested approach whilst acknowledging that there is still work to be done to ensure that the proposals are deliverable.