Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis
IBR is a contagious respiratory disease of cattle caused by bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BoHV-1), commonly affecting the respiratory tract and the reproductive system. Many European countries have already obtained a free status and in others, eradication programs are running, however in the UK to date control of the disease has been at a local level. All ages of animals are potentially at risk. Although ‘classic’ IBR tends to occur in store cattle, IBR has been shown to be involved in the cases of pneumonia in younger calves on some farms. Anecdotally, IBR appears to be on the rise in dairy herds, with freshly calved heifers being most at risk. With no national eradication effort on the horizon, it is down to individual farmers and vets to come up with control programmes to limit disease at a farm level. All animals that are infected become carriers.
True prevalence is not known, but in 1998 a survey of bulk milk antibodies from 341 dairy herds in England and Wales showed 69% sero-positive¹ (Paton et al, 1998) and in 2008, O’Grady et al found that 73% of Irish beef herds had serological evidence of exposure to BoHV-1.²