The announcement that Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) will become a notifiable disease in Northern Ireland (NI) has been welcomed by Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI).
This is set to come into effect in NI from November 8, 2023, and means that if there is a suspected presence of BVD, whether due to clinical signs or due to positive laboratory antigen test results, must be passed on to the Department of Agriculture , Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) immediately.
According to AHWNI, the BVD Implementation Group has been requesting that BVD would be made notifiable for several years.
The AHWNI have said this request was made initially as an outcome of the ambition to deal with all BVD positive test results in a timely manner, so that the risk of onward transmission of the virus, to other livestock on affected farms and to cattle on neighboring farms farms would be minimized.
The legislative change follows the requirements of the EU Animal Health Law regarding the prevention and control of BVD.
A responsibility to notify BVD falls on anyone who suspects or detects the disease, whether a farmer, veterinary practitioner or a member of staff working in a relevant testing laboratory.
According to the AHWNI, prompt notification of the positive result (whether as a result of diagnostic testing following a disease investigation or confirmatory blood testing) will assist in the early identification of new outbreaks, allowing tailored advice to be given to the herd owner at the earliest opportunity.
The herd level incidence of BVD has fallen below 3.00% (to 2.99% for the 12 months from
October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023) for the first time during the lifetime of the compulsory
program, which the AHWNI say is a decrease of 74% from the end of the first year of the program.