GERMANY - German vets and advisers are being blamed for spreading a highly virulent strain of bovine viral diarrhea spreading to 5,000 cattle, killing 500 animals in 2012.
Protective clothing could have prevented the spread of infection, says a report published in the journal Heliyon, which pinned the blame on people passing between farms.
Furthermore, state efforts to eradicate BVD from Germany left some farms exposed, resulting in 60 per cent mortality on one holding.
Cattle population in certain areas had neither been exposed to the virus nor been vaccinated.
In all, 5325 cattle on 21 farms were affected by the dangerous BVDV-2C strain, with technicians taking three months to diagnose the causative agent.
The report did state, however, that that the existing control measures, like trade restrictions and increased biosecurity were suitable to stop the spread of the outbreak.
Government measures were successful once imposed, with the report underlining the importance of increased biosecurity measures in controlling the outbreak.
Mainly affecting western Germany, the outbreak was a diversion from the predominant BVDV-1b and 1d strains, which accounted for 70 per cent of 600 isolates tested between 2008 and 2014.
Alarms were raised in early November 2012, when a dairy farmer in the district of Kleve noted a milk yield reduction, respiratory problems, nasal discharge, fever, sporadic diarrhoea and sudden deaths in cows and youngstock.
The study recommended the onset of clinical signs and the diagnosis of veterinarians and laboratories need to be sensitised to include highly virulent BVDV as a “differential diagnosis” and test the animals accordingly.
“Hygiene standards in cattle farms need to be improved at all levels in the cattle industry to minimize the spread of highly contagious diseases,” prescribed the study.
“All visitors should wear farm-owned or disposable protective clothing to prevent the spread of infections via contact and fomites.”
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