Our objective was to determine the prevalence of serum antibodies to bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1) and bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus in beef cattle in Uruguay. A random sample of 230 herds selected with probability proportional to population size based on the number of cattle was chosen from a list frame of all registered livestock farms as of June 1999. Sera from up to 10 heifers, cows and bulls (up to 30 sera total per herd) were collected on selected farms between March 2000 and March 2001 and evaluated by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). Overall, 6358 serum samples were evaluated. We also collected data on previous diagnosis of BHV-1 or BVD infections and on the use of vaccines against these agents.
The estimated prevalence of exposure to BHV-1 and BVD at the herd level for the Uruguayan beef population was 99% and 100%, respectively. Approximately 37% of beef cattle in Uruguay have been exposed to BHV-1 and 69% to BVD virus. Only 3% of beef herds in Uruguay regularly (typically, annually) use vaccines against either of these agents.