Engaging veterinarians and farmers in eradicating bovine viral diarrhoea: a systematic review of economic impact

Matt J Yarnall, BVM&S, MSc, MRCVS1,2 and Michael V Thrusfield, BVMS, MSc, MRCVS, CBiol, FRSB, DTVMDipECVPH3

  • 1. Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, Ellesfield Avenue, Bracknell, RG12 8YS, UK, Bracknell, UK

    2. Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine, Deanery of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH16 4SB, UK, Edinburgh, UK

    3. Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK


Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) is a significant drain on efficient and successful cattle production in both dairy and beef systems around the world. Several countries have achieved eradication of this disease, but always through the motivation of stakeholders who accept the benefits of eradication. These include increased cattle welfare and fitness of cattle to withstand other diseases, and decreased costs of production, the latter resulting from both decreased costs spent on managing the disease and decreased losses. This paper provides a systematic review of 31 papers, published between 1991 and 2015, that address the economic impact of BVD. Each paper takes a different approach, in either beef or dairy production or both. However with the breadth of work collated, a stakeholder engaged in BVD eradication should find an economic figure of most relevance to them. The reported economic impact ranges from £0 to £552 per cow per year (£2370 including outliers). This range represents endemic or subclinical disease situations seen in herds with stable BVD virus infection, and epidemic or severe acute situations, most often seen in naïve herds. The outcome of infection is therefore dependent on the immune status of the animal and severity of the strain. The variations in figures for the economic impact of BVD relate to these immune and pathogenicity factors, along with the variety of impacts monitored.