Simulation study to assess the efficiency of a test-and-cull scheme to control the spread of the bovine viral-diarrhoea virus in a dairy herd

aUnit of Animal Health Management, Veterinary School & INRA, BP 40706, 44307 Nantes Cedex 03, France


To control the spread of  bovine viral-diarrhoea virus (BVDV), test-and-cull schemes have been used in Scandinavian countries, with success, when combined with strict control of new animal introductions into herds. In situations where BVDV reintroduction is likely to occur, it is necessary to assess precisely the expected efficiency of test-and-cull schemes. The objective of this study was to compare, by simulation, the persistence and consequences of BVDV infection in a fully susceptible dairy herd with either a test-and-cull scheme or no control action. We used a stochastic individual-based model representing the herd structure as groups of animals, herd dynamics, the contact structure within the herd and virus transmission. After an initial introduction of the virus into a fully susceptible herd, the frequency of purchases of animals that introduced the virus was simulated as high, intermediate or null. Virus persistence and epidemic size (total number of animals infected) were simulated over 10 years. The test-and-cull reduced the epidemic size and the number of days the virus was present except in herds with complete prevention of contact between groups of animals. Where no virus was reintroduced, virus persistence did not exceed 6 years with a test-and-cull scheme, whereas the virus was still present 10 years after the virus introduction in some replications with no control action (<2%). Where frequent purchases were made that led to virus introduction (6 within 10 years), with an intermediate virus transmission between groups, the probability of virus persistence 10 years after the first virus introduction fell from 31% to 8% with the test-and-cull scheme (compared to the do-nothing strategy). Within the newly infected herd, the test-and-cull scheme had no effect, on inspection, on the number of PI births, embryonic deaths or abortions over 10 years. Given this, the economic efficiency of the test-and-cull scheme should be further investigated.


This article was published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, A.-F. Vieta, C. Fourichona and H. Seegersa, Simulation study to assess the efficiency of a test-and-cull scheme to control the spread of the bovine viral-diarrhoea  virus in a dairy herd, 151-166, Copyright Elsevier 2006.