Control of bovine viral diarrhea virus infection without vaccines

Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract. 1995 Nov;11(3):627-40. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0720(15)30471-0.


Successful control and eradication of BVDV infection presuppose sufficient knowledge of its epidemiology, particularly sources of infection and ways of transmission. Furthermore, it is crucial to have tests that can be trusted to give the true infection of individual animals and indicate the infection status of herds. PI animals are considered to be the main source of infection. In preliminary experiments in Denmark, it was found that eradication in herds could be based on the identification and removal of PI animals. Actual and possible means of herd-to-herd transmission of importance for infection control are reviewed. Special attention is paid to the possibility of airborne transmission, which must be anticipated in areas with high BVDV prevalence and a high cattle population density. BVDV control programs have been initiated only in the Scandinavian countries including Finland, where the occurrence of BVDV varies from a very low prevalence in Finland to a very high prevalence in Denmark. The BVDV programs in Finland, Norway, and Sweden are basically the same. The primary aim of each is the identification of the herds free from infection and prevention of introduction of the infection to these herds. A secondary aim is to reduce gradually the number of infected herds. In Denmark, which has a high prevalence of BVDV, the program is a combined control and eradication program, and different tests are used. The control programs in Scandinavian countries and the eradication program in Denmark are described together with the tests involved. With respect to control, special emphasis is given to herd tests applied to bulk tank milk or to specially selected blood samples to indicate the infection status of individual herds. The initial bulk tank milk testings were the main basis for the conclusions that in Finland, Norway, and Denmark approximately 1%, 9%, and 39% of the dairy herds, respectively, seemed to have PI animals. With respect to eradication, an ELISA developed in Denmark for demonstration of virus in blood has proved to be extremely reliable for identification of PI animals. The BVDV programs are generally voluntary, although in Norway, where BVD is a notifiable disease, restrictions have been placed on infected herds to prevent a further spread of the infection. The annual losses in Denmark from BVDV have been calculated to be approximately 100 million DKr (17 million dollars), whereas the total costs of the control and eradication program for a 3-year period including testing of trade animals are estimated to be approximately 160 million DKr (27 million dollars).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Bovine Virus Diarrhea-Mucosal Disease / diagnosis
  • Bovine Virus Diarrhea-Mucosal Disease / epidemiology
  • Bovine Virus Diarrhea-Mucosal Disease / prevention & control*
  • Cattle
  • Diarrhea Viruses, Bovine Viral / immunology*
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Viral