20 September 1996

High hopes for BVDvaccine

A NEW vaccine could stem the £70m a year lost by UK producers to bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD).

Due for launch this autumn, it is the first to be available in Britain against the disease and has been developed by the Institute of Animal Health, Compton, Berks.

BVD infection in early pregnancy can cause abortion. Surviving calves are infected for life and at six to 12 months develop mucosal disease.

The vaccine, known as Bovidec, is designed to prevent calves being born with persistent BVDinfections. They may show no symptoms themselves, yet are highly infective to other animals and are a source of infection throughout their life, says manufacturer C-Vet.

The companys vet adviser Andrew Curwen says that currently 1-2.5% of calves born from UK dairy herds would be infected persistently with BVD. There is no cure for persistent infection but the vaccine can now prevent it in the unborn foetus.

Mr Curwen recommends that heifers and cows are treated before service with two doses of vaccine separated by a three-week interval. The first dose of vaccine must be given at least 28 days before anticipated service.

He stresses the need for all farmers concerned about BVD to seek vet advice.