Over half of 25 herds test neg­a­tive in IBR pilot pro­gramme

Irish Examiner - Farming - - GENERAL FARMING -

More than 50% of the tested herds in a pilot IBR Pro­gramme in suck­ler herds tested neg­a­tive, in­di­cat­ing ab­sence of, or a low num­ber of Ibr-pos­i­tive an­i­mals in the herd.

IBR is a highly in­fec­tious dis­ease of cat­tle. In­fected an­i­mals re­cover but be­come car­ri­ers and, de­spite ap­pear­ing healthy, may start shed­ding virus when un­der stress.

About 75% of Ir­ish herds con­tain an­i­mals that have been ex­posed to IBR, and are car­ri­ers, said Dr Maria Guel­benzu, An­i­mal Health Ire­land, at the re­cent Teagasc Na­tional Beef Con­fer­ence. Cat­tle with IBR have a wa­tery dis­charge from the nose and eyes.

They may present with red nose and eyes and lack of ap­petite.

Af­fected an­i­mals may be dull, off their feed and have a high tem­per­a­ture.

Bulls with an­ti­bod­ies to IBR (in­clud­ing those due to vac­ci­na­tion) are pro­hib­ited from en­ter­ing se­men col­lec­tion cen­tres. Although IBR is en­demic in cat­tle pop­u­la­tions across the world, seven Euro­pean coun­tries (Aus­tria, Bel­gium, the Czech Repub­lic, Den­mark, Fin­land, Ger­many, Nor­way, Swe­den and Switzer­land) and re­gions in sev­eral other coun­tries have con­trol pro­grammes, and are recog­nised by the EU as be­ing ‘Ibr-free’. IBR sta­tus is im­por­tant in the in­ter­na­tional trade of live an­i­mals and some an­i­mal prod­ucts.

For ex­am­ple, the coun­tries and re­gions men­tioned above are granted ad­di­tional guar­an­tees by the EU when cat­tle are traded into these states or re­gions.

These in­clude amongst other mea­sures, that an­i­mals must come from hold­ings free from IBR for 12 months. The pilot IBR erad­i­ca­tion pro­gramme was de­vel­oped by An­i­mal Health Ire­land’s IBR Tech­ni­cal Work­ing Group for herds par­tic­i­pat­ing in Phase Three of the Teagasc/ir­ish Farm­ers Jour­nal BET­TER Farm Beef Pro­gramme. With 25 herds in 22 coun­ties tested, and IBR on-farm ve­teri­nary risk as­sess­ment and man­age­ment plans com­pleted, re­sults showed that 60% of the herds are likely to have a low preva­lence of in­fec­tion.

These herds would be the best po­si­tioned to progress to­wards an Ibr-free sta­tus, by test­ing the re­main­der of the herd, and ei­ther con­firm­ing free­dom, or re­mov­ing sero-pos­i­tive an­i­mals.

In the 40% of herds with two or more sero-pos­i­tive an­i­mals (which in­di­cates herd preva­lence greater than 15%), a large pro­por­tion of the seropos­i­tive re­sults were from older an­i­mals, not home­bred. These herds were gen­er­ally big­ger, and had more di­rectly bought-in an­i­mals.

In an in­fected herd, com­plete and reg­u­lar herd vac­ci­na­tion can be one of the mea­sures to con­trol IBR, as it makes it less likely that a la­tent car­rier will re­ac­ti­vate and shed the virus, and less likely that a naïve an­i­mal will be­come in­fected and spread the virus af­ter ex­po­sure. How­ever, the whole breed­ing herd, and not just young stock, must be vac­ci­nated. In­for­ma­tion from the pilot IBR erad­i­ca­tion pro­gramme will be used in devel­op­ment of op­tions for an IBR erad­i­ca­tion pro­gramme for Ire­land.

It should be noted that the pilot pro­gramme re­sults are not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the na­tional herd.

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