An update on the BVD eradication programme 01/04/2014

 The programme has now been running since 1st January 2013 and continues to make good progress. To date, approximately 190,000 tissue sample tags have been ordered for use in 3,000 herds. So far 0.71% of tissue samples from calves have tested positive. Where blood samples have been taken to confirm that these calves are persistently infected, 89% have again been positive. The majority of herds with PI calves in 2013 had only one born, with 95% having four or less. Results for blood samples collected from the dams of positive calves (DAMPIs) indicated that 5.9% were positive, consistent with their also being PI. DARD are now working toward a compulsory programme, although a specific start date for this next phase is not yet available. In the meantime, participating farmers should note the following points:

Posting of samples

Due to the thickness of envelopes containing tissue tags, Royal Mail considers these all to be “large letters”. Please ensure that correct postage is paid to avoid delay or return of samples. The current minimum cost for postage of a large letter to a UK laboratory is 90p, which should be enough for up to 10 tags. If in doubt take envelopes to the Post Office to confirm the correct postage as “large letters”. Please include your herd number/return address on the envelope.

Registration of calves

Calves must be registered with APHIS before results can be reported, so ensure registrations, including aborted, stillborn or dead calves are done promptly (preferably using APHIS on-line).

Receiving results to mobile phones

If you are not receiving results to your mobile phone contact AHWNI to provide a current number to ensure you receive results as quickly as possible.

Accessing your results

Herd Owners can log into the AHWNI database at using their government gateway username and password to access their results. This also gives access to all letters and reports issued to the herd and allows declarations of negative results to be generated.

Sharing results with your private veterinary practitioner (PVP)

It is recommended that all herd owners grant their PVP access to their test results on the AHWNI database. This allows positive results to be followed up and appropriate advice to be given. If you have not yet granted access for your PVP, please contact AHWNI to do so.

Comply with programme guidelines

These include testing all calves born (including aborted, stillborn and dead calves), carrying out all necessary follow up testing after a positive result and not selling any PI or suspect animals. It is important that the dams of positive calves are tested to ensure that they are not PI. It is also strongly recommended that PI animals are disposed of as rapidly as possible. PI calves will typically not survive or thrive to reach slaughter weight. More importantly, even where attempts are made to isolate them, there is a significant risk that retention of PIs will result in infection of more pregnant animals and the birth of larger numbers of PIs the following season.

For more information contact Animal Health and Welfare NI (AHWNI), on 02887789126 or email: