This disease can have a great economic impact: losses caused by respiratory diseases, decreases in milk production, treatment costs, impaired fertility, abortions and fatal diseases in newborn cattle. The morbidity rate can be up to 100 %, although mortality is low (up to 10 %). Yet, the disease’s course can get more complicated as a result of secondary bacteria or viruses (such as the bovine enzootic pneumonia pathogen).
The virus is often introduced to BoHV1-free farms through the purchase of animals that are clinically healthy, but carry the virus latently or are in the incubation period. The disease is spread through intensive animal movement by cattle traders and cattle markets, for instance.
The virus spreads within the herd mainly through direct contact between animals, such as lacrimation and nasal secretions containing the virus (droplet infection), via the mucous membranes of the genital tract, but also via excrement and licking. Indirect transmission via people and contaminated clothing, contaminated and inadequately cleaned transport vehicles, farm tools, equipment and instruments (e.g. hypodermic needles) is also possible.
Infected animals carry the virus for the rest of their lives and may excrete the virus at times following stressful situations (e.g. feed change, giving birth, transport, stress). Nasal virus excretions will take up to two weeks. Male animals play an important part in the spread of IBR/IPV/IBP (the shipping of infected sperm!).
The cattle affected show serologically detectable antibodies 7-14 days after infection. Maternal antibodies are transmitted to the calves via colostrum, thus protecting them biologically from the clinical disease. These can be detected up to nine months later, in a few cases even longer.
Small ruminants may get infections and excrete the virus, but will not be affected themselves. Wild ruminants form a virus reservoir in BoHV1 areas.
The clinical picture of a BoHV-1 infection comes in two forms. The symptoms vary depending on the age of the animals infected:
IBR = respiratory form: depression, loss of appetite, fever (up to 42° C), nasal discharge, hyperaemia of the nasal mucosa (red nose symptom), conjunctivitis, coughing, dyspnoea, miscarriages, fattening animals show reduced fattening effects, lactating animals show a significant drop in milk production, even from the onset of the disease.
IBR manifest itself in calves predominantly as a general disease, with high temperatures and fever dominated by respiratory symptoms and often accompanied by diarrhoea. The fatality rate in young animals is significantly higher than in adult ones; the disease often ends fatally.
IPV / IBP = genital form (usually limited to mucous membranes in the vagina and foreskin): depression, loss of appetite, fever (up to 42° C), swollen labiae with oedema, hyperaemia of the mucous membranes (vulva vestibule, vagina, penis), pustules on mucous membrane, miscarriages, orchitis, endometritis.
IBR/IPV/IBP is a registrable disease. Should there be a suspected infection the guidelines provided by the BMG (Federal Ministry of Health) must be followed. You can find details of the precise regulations and measures to follow should a suspected infection occur in the Rindergesundheits-Überwachungs-Verordnung (Bovine Health Monitoring Regulation):
- Taking samples
- Suspicious livestock
- Procedures in specific cases of suspicion
- Livestock affected
- Animal suspected of being infected
- Animal suspected of having the disease
- Eliminating reagents
- Duty to Report
- Measures to be taken after reporting
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Transport restrictions
- Monitoring of IBR/IPV incl. monitoring programmes
The following samples can be sent for examination:
Samples for indirect virus verification
- Whole blood or serum without anticoagulants (not frozen, Quantity > 7ml)
- Tank milk or individual milks
Samples for direct virus verification
- Nose swabs, eye swabs, genital swabs
- Head incl. tonsils and Larynx
- Oesophagus 20 cm
Organs with Changes
- Fist-sized piece of lung (bifurcation)
- Lymph nodes
- Uterus, ovaries
- Organs from foetus and placenta
AGES‘s Institute for Veterinary Medical Examinations in Mödling is the National Reference Laboratory for IBR/IPV/ IBP, specialised in verification methods for BoHV-1.
Examinations undertaken on suspicion of BoHV-1 or as a follow-up all take place at the institute in Mödling.
See Information on IBR IPV Examinations
For Information on opening Times and Addresses of Examination Centres