Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health has announced the replacement of its Bovilis® IBR with Bovilis® IBR Marker Live vaccine, a move that brings the UK into line with the rest of Europe where marker vaccines are favoured.

Many EU member states, including Scandinavia and Austria are now declared IBR-free, and others (Germany and Hungary) operate national eradication programmes. Using a marker vaccine will help farmers wishing to export animals, or semen, or those working towards an eradication programme in their herds.

Recent bulk milk and blood screening via Intervet/Schering-Plough's complimentary BeefCheck and DairyCheck has revealed that 72% of herds tested were positive for IBR exposure. Given the latent nature of infection, and the rumbling losses associated with subclinical disease, it should come as no surprise that farmers are increasingly interested in controlling IBR. Studies have shown that IBR infection can result in a milk yield reduction of 173 litres per infected animal, or over £400 a year, for a 100-cow herd.

According to Intervet/Schering-Plough, Bovilis IBR Marker Live is Europe's leading IBR vaccine. It can be given intra-muscularly or intra-nasally to calves as young as two weeks old, as well as pregnant dams. It is also licensed to be given together with the pneumonia vaccine Bovilis® Bovipast RSP. The primary course involves one dose in cattle over three months of age, with immunity in just four days from the intra-nasal method, and 14 days from injection. Stock need re-vaccination every six months.

The vaccine reduces the amount of virus excreted into the environment, so minimising the risk to stressed cattle which may have been brought into the herd, and be latently infected.  It also makes it an excellent choice for producers with breeding bulls, which should not be vaccinated. Bulls have to be kept naïve, however, the marker vaccine can be used on females in the herd to minimise virus circulation. This way the threat is minimised, and bulls can be kept infection free.

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