BVD CONSULT

Assessing economic and social pressure for the control of bovine viral diarrhoea virus

aSAC Epidemiology Research Unit, Animal Health Group, SAC Research, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK bBusiness Economics Group, Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands cSAC Epidemiology Research Unit, Land Economy Group, SAC Research, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to present a preliminary assessment of variation in the economic impact of bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) at dairy farm level between a sample of nations within the EU and hence assess differences in pressure to respond to this disease that may be impeding progress in control and hence restricting collective benefits from healthier livestock. We used a questionnaire to obtain national average values of key epidemiological and economic parameters for a typical dairy farm from BVDV experts in the countries concerned. These parameters were converted into assessments of economic impact using a computer simulation model. Uncontrolled output losses for a BVDV-naïve herd with virus introduced in year 1 of a 10-year epidemic represented 22, 7, 8, 5, 8 and 20% of the BVDV-free annuity for the UK, Northern Portugal, Holland, Norway, Italy and Germany, respectively. Differences between countries will be widened by differences in the risk of acquiring BVDV. These will be much reduced in countries, such as Norway that have a national BVDV eradication programme. Farmers in such countries can therefore justify spending much less on maintaining BVDV-free status than BVDV-free farms in other countries. This result illustrates the paradox that in countries where BVDV prevalence is high, farmers have least to gain from unilateral BVDV eradication because of the high cost of maintaining freedom from the disease. We discuss this issue in the light of increasing recognition at international level of the importance of BVDV control.

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This article was published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 72, G.J. Gunna, H.W. Saatkampb, R.W. Humphrya and A.W. Stottc, Assessing economic and social pressure for the control of bovine viral diarrhoea virus, 149-162, Copyright Elsevier 2005.