Objective−To report the prevalence of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) in calves and calf groups (ie, calves from the same farm) in beef breeding herds and evaluate the ability of biosecurity risk assessment questionnaires to identify calf groups with positive results for BVDV.
Animals−12,030 calves born in spring from 102 operations.
Procedures−Cow-calf producers that voluntarily enrolled in a screening project submitted ear notch specimens from calves and answered a 29-question survey instrument. Ear notch specimens were tested for BVDV with an antigen-capture ELISA (ACE), and ear notch specimens with positive ACE results for BVDV were immediately retested by performing immunohistochemistry (IHC). Follow-up testing, 3 to 4 weeks after initial positive ACE results, was done by use of a second IHC test and virus isolation on a subsequently submitted ear notch specimen from the same calves to identify those that were persistently infected (PI).
Results−102 producers submitted ear notch specimens for BVDV screening. Initially, 24 of 12,030 calves had positive ACE results for BVDV. A second ear notch specimen was submitted for 20 of these 24 calves. Of 20 retested calves, 12 had positive ICH results for BVDV, confirming PI status. The 12 PI calves came from 4 calf groups (3 singletons and 1 calf group with 9 PI calves).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance−Prevalence of BVDV in calf groups was low, and questions designed to identify high-risk biosecurity behaviors had little value in identifying calf groups with positive results for BVDV.