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Case study: BVD eradication programme in Scotland

Summary

The Scottish cattle industry, supported by Scottish Government, embarked upon a Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme in 2010.  The impact of this programme has been significant: the majority (90%) of Scottish breeding holdings now have a negative BVD status.

EPIC scientists have been involved in various aspects of the BVD eradication campaign. BVD and other endemic diseases offer unique opportunities to develop cutting edge multidisciplinary tools and methodologies to mitigate risks of disease transmission and subsequently help achieve disease freedom. Equally, there are now new technologies, which EPIC have previously only applied in an exotic disease context, which can usefully inform endemic disease control strategies.  For example: EPIC scientists at the Roslin Institute are employing phylodynamic techniques to identify BVD transmission routes and patterns of between farm spread. EPIC scientists at the Moredun Institute have led the creation and curation of a BVD Biobank which has been essential to provide the viral sequence and metadata which necessarily underpin the phylodynamic work.  EPIC scientists at the James Hutton Institute are employing novel mixed method approaches (including mobile and video ethnography and semi-structured interviews with cattle keepers) to provide deeper insights into farmers' perception and uptake of biosecurity measures to mitigate BVD transmission. EPIC statisticians at SRUC and BioSS have developed novel methods to look at making better inference from repeated tests on farms.

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