Case Study – Removal of Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV) Persistently Infected (PI) Animals from a United States Beef Herd: Effect on PI Animal Prevalence and BVDV Seroprevalence


This study was conducted to determine the effect of removing cattle persistently infected (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) on seroprevalence and prevalence of PI calves in an endemically infected beef herd. The prevalence of PI animals and the serum neutralizing (SN) titers of heifers, bulls and calves were determined for three cow-calf herds in a beef cattle ranch over a period of two years. In the first year, identified PI animals were removed from the herd within three weeks of identification. Five PI animals of 2921 (0.171%) cattle tested were identified in the first year. One PI animal was a yearling heifer and the remaining four were claves. Three of the four PI calves identified were removed prior to the breeding season, when the calves averaged two months of age. One PI animal was not identified until weaning at six months of age, and was present in the herd during the breeding season. The percentage of animals with high SN titers (≥1:512) were 20.6% (367/1784) to type I BVDV and 44.8% (799/1784) to type II BVDV. In year two, PI calves were not identified and the percentage of claves with high SN titers to BVDV type I and type II decreased to 5.91% (58/981) and 18.04% (177/981), respectively. Removal of PI animals in the first year reduced transmission of BVDV as evidenced by a significant decrease in the prevalence of high BVDV SN titers and the absence of PI animals the following year. These findings support the use of PI animal identification and removal as an effective BVDV control strategy in beef herds.

Cleveland SM, Cleveland MA, Salman MD, et al: Bov Pract 38(2):155-161, 2004