Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is a disease of cattle that causes a wide range of cattle health problems such as abortion, infertility, respiratory and gut disorders among other problems. In 2010 Scotland embarked upon a BVD eradication programme which is successfully reducing the incidence of disease. In June 2015 the now-mandatory scheme entered phase 4 with increased testing and a tightening of movement restrictions of cattle from 'not negative' herds.

On 3rd April 2018 Phase 4 was fully implemented and included:

  • Those who buy in animals from high-risk parents (herds of either an unknown status or a non negative status) will lose their negative status.
  • Those who buy in animals from non-high risk parents have two weeks in order to test incoming animals provided these are kept in isolation. A period of 40 days is allowed in which to get results from brought-in animals before they lose their negative status.

The BVD status of a holding can be viewed on the ScotEID website.

BVD Biobank

In collaboration with Biobest and SAC Consulting, BVD positive samples are further analysed by genetic sequencing selected regions of the BVD genome. The BVD Biobank provides a valuable resource to better understand the later stages of the eradication programme, using phylodynamics.


Highlighting the key biosecurity messages that are a critically important part of disease prevention and control, Battle of the Bugs focuses on sheep scab and BVD as examples of biosecurity in practice and its importance to farm profitability. The animation, funded by Crown Estate Scotland, builds on the Biosecurity Big 5 project - an initiative lead by Moredun and Crown Estate Scotland. EPIC member George Russell contributed to the project sharing his technical expertise on BVD. 

Preparing for the end game

One recognised challenge of an eradication programme is overcoming the last few positive cases as they arise. The wealth of data that often accompany an endemic disease situation such as BVD reduces significantly as the number of positive cases falls due to the success of the programme. In anticipation of this EPIC is developing specific 'inference' models to help provide insight into the the BVD eradication programme 'end game'.

Farmers' experiences of the BVD eradication scheme

Interviews were carried out with beef and dairy farmers, livestock auctioneers and expert vets in Scotland. Seven farm videos were also conducted, either through a farm walk or farmer recorded with follow up interview. The research examined why the BVD eradication scheme is working and made recommendations for improving the scheme. Read more here: 'Exploring the challenges to BVD eradication in Scotland'.

BVD Free Congress 2017

Dr. Jenny Purcell (BVD policy manager, Scottish Government) provides an update on the compulsory Scottish BVD eradication programme.

Rural Matters BVD Eradication Programme Videos


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