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Predicted costs and benefits of eradicating BVDV from Ireland

Alistair W Stott1*, Roger W Humphry1*, George J Gunn1, Isabella Higgins2, Thia Hennessy3, Joe O’Flaherty4 and David A Graham4

Author Affiliations

1 Scottish Agricultural College, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, UK

2 Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, Veterinary Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland

3 Teagasc, Rural Economy Research Centre, Athenry, Galway, Co, UK

4 Animal Health Ireland (AHI), Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim, Co, Ireland

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Irish Veterinary Journal 2012, 65:12  doi:10.1186/2046-0481-65-12

Published: 2 July 2012


Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) causes an economically important endemic disease (BVD) of cattle in Ireland and worldwide. Systematic eradication by detection and removal of infectious (BVDV carrier) cattle has been successful in several regions. We therefore assessed the benefits (disease losses avoided) and costs (testing and culling regime) of a potential eradication programme in Ireland. Published bio-economic models of BVDV spread in beef suckler herds and dairy herds were adapted to estimate potential benefits of eradication in Ireland. A simple model of BVDV spread in beef finisher herds was devised to estimate the benefits of eradication in this sector. A six year eradication programme consisting of 5 inter-related virological and serological testing programmes is outlined and costed. We found that the annualised benefits of BVDV eradication in Ireland exceeded the costs by a factor of 5 in the beef suckler sector and a factor of 14 in the dairy sector. Corresponding payback periods were 1.2 and 0.5 years respectively. These results highlight the significant economic impact of BVDV on the Irish cattle industry and suggest a clear economic benefit to eradication using the proposed approach. This type of cost-benefit analysis is considered an essential prerequisite prior to undertaking an eradication campaign of this magnitude.

BVDV; Eradication; Cost benefit analysis