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Seroepidemiology of bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV1) infection among Estonian dairy herds and risk factors for the spread within herds

Raaperi, K., Nurmoja, I., Orro, T., Viltrop, A.
Preventive veterinary medicine 2010 v.96 no.1-2 pp. 74-81
dairy cattle, epidemiological studies, seroprevalence, Bovine herpesvirus 1, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, herd health, risk factors, disease transmission, disease prevalence, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, bulk milk, blood serum, antibodies, questionnaires, Estonia
The objectives of this study were to reassess the herd level and within-herd prevalence of bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV1) infection in Estonian dairy cattle, estimate the sensitivity and specificity of the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for bulk tank milk (BTM) testing and determine the risk factors related to high prevalence of the infection in herds. To estimate the herd prevalence, BTM samples from each of the 1,205 herds that sell milk to dairy companies were analysed for BHV1 antibodies. One hundred and three herds with known BHV1 infection status were selected to estimate within-herd prevalence and to calculate the sensitivity and specificity of BTM ELISA. In these herds serum samples were collected from cows and youngstock, together with BTM samples. A commercial blocking ELISA test was used to analyse samples for antibodies against BHV1. A questionnaire was completed to collect herd data. The sensitivity and specificity of the BTM ELISA were 76.5% and 97.2%, respectively, and the true herd prevalence of BHV1 was calculated to be 22.0%. The herd prevalence increased significantly with herd size, being 3.4% in the smallest category (less than 20 cows) and 85.7% in herds of size over 400. The mean within-herd prevalence was 37.8% (range 1-100, median 31.5). The mean within-herd prevalence increased with herd size. Data from 59 infected herds was used to determine the risk factors associated with high within-herd prevalence (>50%) of BHV1, using logistic regression analysis. As, in some infected herds, the youngstock were uninfected, risk factors for the presence of BHV1 among youngstock from 6 months until calving were analysed. The results indicate the importance of iatrogenic spread of the virus, since the overall within-herd prevalence was higher in those herds in which a veterinarian was an employee of the farm and an inseminator worked only for the particular farm. The presence of bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) in a herd was associated with a higher prevalence of BHV1.