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Ireland

IBR

IBR is an infectious viral disease of cattle caused by Bovine Herpes Virus 1 (BHV-1). IBR stands for Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis and is the most common clinical manifestation associated with BHV-1 infection.

The severity of disease associated with IBR infections can range from the very mild/inapparent to the very severe. Inflammation of the nostrils and upper airways of cattle, associated with a high temperture are the most common IBR clinical signs. The virus can also cause abortion in pregnant cattle as well as pharygitis in young calves.

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  • The following clinical signs may be associated with  IBR infections:

    Dullness and reduced appetite

    High body temperature

    Rapid and loud breathing, sometimes with coughing

    Inflammation inside the nose and in the pink of the eye (conjunctiva) 

    Fluid discharge from nose and eyes

    Pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat)

    Sudden reduced milk production

    Abortion

    Nervous signs (normally only in young calves).

  • BHV-1, the virus that causes IBR is spread mainly by close contact between animals.

    • Airborne spread of virus may occur over distances of up to 5m
    • The virus may also be spread by using semen from infected bulls, using contaminated equipment and by people who have recently handled infected animals.

    Any animal that is infected with IBR is considered a latent carrier of the virus for life. This means that the animal will always carry the virus, and may shed it when subjected to stress, illness etc. These latent carriers of the virus maintain the disease within the herd.

  • There are two main costs associated with IBR

    1. Loss of Production
    2. Loss of Export markets 

    Loss of Export markets: Export of calves and weanlings are a key support to farming in Ireland. As more and more European countries porgress with eradication, these exports markets are at risk of closure to entry of cattle from countires with IBR such as Ireland. For example  in 2014 a total of 21,360 animals were exported from Ireland to Belgium up to 10th October. During the same period in 2015, exports were reduced by 97.8% to 473. This is as a direct result of Belgium initiating a national IBR eradication programme.

    Loss of Production: Recent research on Irish dairy farms has indicated that endemic IBR (as opposed to an outbreak of IBR) reduces both milk yield and milk solids production. More specific details and figures on this research are expected to be published later in 2016.

  • It is estimated that between 70% and 80% of Irish cattle herds have a least one animal positive for IBR. These IBR carrier animals (latent carriers) are the source of the virus in IBR outbreaks.

    A) If you know your herd is IBR free (by blood sampling) make sure you keep the IBR virus out. This is acheivable by maintaining a closed herd. See biosecurity section.

    B) If you know you have animals that are IBR positive (latent carriers) you have three options

    1. Cull the carriers animals; thereby establishing an IBR free herd
    2. Implement an IBR vaccination programme to control and possibly eradicate IBR

    C) If you don't know your herd IBR status talk to your vets about some herd investigation to establish if IBR is present in your herd.

  • Biosecurity comprises of Bioexclusion and Biocontainment.

    Bioexclusion practices are the actions taken to reduce the risk of infectious disease coming into a farm.

    The most important risk factors are:

    Direct disease spread from animals e.g.

    • Adding animals to the herd
    • Contact with animals from neighbouring herds

    Indirect disease spread e.g.

    • Farm visitors
    • Slurry
    • Animal equipment
    • Wildlife, vermin

    The ideal Bioexclusion policy is to have a closed herd. This means:

    • No buying in stock including no buying of bulls
    • No borrowing of bulls
    • No exhibiting at shows
    • No sharing of cattle facilities
      • Use own equipment and do not lend
      • Use disposable equipment and dispose of it
      • Wash and disinfect non disposable equipment
    • No return of unsold cattle (from marts or other farms)
    • No use of common housing or grazing
    • Good, secure boundary fencing
      • Prevent nose-to-nose contact with animals from other herds
      • Stock proof fencing
      • Double spaced boundary fencing of 5 metre should provide adequate protection
    • Disinfection procedure in place for farm visitors
      • Is there a disinfection procedure in place?
      • Is it used?
      • Keep visitors to a minimum
      • One single farm entry and exit point
      • Provide protective clothing for visitors

    Biocontainment practices are the actions taken to reduce or prevent the risk of infectious disease spread within a farm, typically between different management groups.

    The two main sources of infection on a farm are:

    1. Infected animals
      • Clinically sick animals: visibly sick
      • Sub-clinically affected animals (maybe suspicious due to performance etc. but not visible, only identify on blood sample)
      • Carrier animals (not visible, only identify on blood sample)
    2. Contaminated environment
      • Equipment, visitors etc.

    Best practice for Biocontainment:

    • Diagnose and treat sick animals promptly
    • Isolate/remove sick animals from the group or herd
    • Keep different age groups and management groups separate

    High risk Biocontainment areas examples

    • Collection yard: highest density of cattle on farm twice per day. Ensure adequate ventilation. (Target 0.1m2 outlet per animal)
    • Calving pens: if there are a few cows infected with IBR, i.e gE positive carrier their shedding rate is likely to be highest in the calving pen due to the stress associated with calving.
    • At-risk fresh calved cow’s pen: if there are IBR carriers in a group of cows that are struggling to recover after calving these are likely to be IBR shedding candidates. Ensure these high risk freshly calved cows are maintained in a separate shed.

  • If IBR is confirmed in your herd the first step is make a plan with you vet to

    A) Control clinical signs (if any)

    B) Reduce the risk of more animals contracting the virus and becoming IBR carriers

    C) Implement a control and eradication programme by improving biosecurity and implementing an IBR vaccination programme.

    If active clinical IBR Rispoval IBR Live should be used intranasally as live IBR vaccines work fast and are more effective in the face of clinical disease. Live IBR vaccines have been shown to be effective in reducing the amount of virus shed from animals clinically sick with IBR.

    If IBR is endemic in the herd, i.e. there is evidence of the virus in the herd based on blood samples or milk samples but no overt signs of clinically ill animals, then there are a number of options.

    Option 1: Blood sample the entire herd and cull carriers; produce IBR free herd and imporve biosecurity to keep virus out. (see biosecurity section for more details)

    Option 2: Vaccinate with Rispoval IBR Marker live into the muscle every 6 months

    Option 3: Vaccinate with Rispoval IBR Marker live intot he muscle followd by Rispoval IBR Marker inactivated under the skin 6 months later. Thereafter vaccinate every year with Rispoval IBR Marker inactivated (under the skin)

Rispoval IBR vaccines are the only IBR vaccines in Ireland licensed for

  1. IBR Abortion Protection

  2. Annual or 6 monthly booster

  3. Use in animals at immediate risk of IBR

For more information on Rispoval IBR vaccines click the vaccine picture on the right hand side