22 March 2002

Buyers call for IBR-free guarantee IBR-free status guarantee

remaining IBR-free or vaccinating infected herds against it could reduce costs within herds or keep European markets for UK cattle open.

Some countries, such as Holland, have IBR eradication schemes in place, so soon they will not buy stock without an IBR-free guarantee, said Bayer Animal Health vet Andrew Curwen. But 2.5% of UK herds suffer an outbreak each year.

This typically results in loss of milk, estimated at 75 litres/cow, 2% mortality and 10% of cows aborting, he explained.

He told producers at the meeting that if tests for IBR proved negative they should generally aim to stay negative through good biosecurity, particularly when buying animals. Mr Curwen also advised ongoing monitoring as part of a herd health plan.

Positive herds needed to decide on whether IBR-free status was important. "It may not be for those only selling milk or finished cattle."

When it was, they had to decide whether to eradicate it or vaccinate. When vaccination was chosen, producers now had the option of a live marker vaccine, he said. "This makes it possible to differentiate between infected animals with antibodies and those with antibodies due to vaccination, so buyers of animals can be sure they are not carriers."