BVD is the most common viral disease in cattle and causes a significant negative economic impact. The mechanism of disease is complex, with different clinical manifestations for transient and persistent infections (including mucosal disease). Diagnostic tools, using specific antibody and virus detection techniques, are available to assess the BVD status of herds.
The infographics on this site can help with understanding of how this disease spreads. Learn more about the virus, the mechanism of the disease and the means of diagnosis.
The virus causing the cattle disease BVD is a Pestivirus from the family Flaviviridae that is related to the pathogens causing Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and Border Disease of Sheep. It is a round-shaped, single-stranded RNA virus, 40 to 50 nanometres in diameter. The Bovine Viral Diarrhoea virus occurs in the genotypes BVD type 1 and BVD type 2 (both with various subtypes). There are two biotypes: cytopathogenic (cp) and non-cytopathogenic (npc).
The mechanisms of BVD are complex as there are persistent and transient infections. Persistently infected animals (PI animals) can be asymptomatic and therefore go unnoticed, so they often spread the disease amongst herds. An infection of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea can be transferred from cows to unborn calves during gestation resulting in malformation, miscarriage or calves serving as unnoticed sources for the BVD virus to spread further.
While in the European Union, type 1 of BVD is considerably more prevalent, there is an even prevalence of type 1 and type 2 in North America.
There are various established methods to detect this disease in herds:
BVD affects both reproduction and productivity of herds: This disease can result in reduced milk production, growth retardation, reduced general resistance against diseases, increased mortality among young stock and poor reproductive performance.