Infection with bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1) causes a wide range of disease manifestations, including respiratory disease and abortion, with world-wide distribution. The primary objective of the present study was to describe aspects of BHV-1 infection and control on Irish farms, including herd-level seroprevalence (based on pooled sera) and vaccine usage. The characteristics of a diagnostic indirect BHV-1 antibody ELISA test when used on serum pools were evaluated using laboratory replicates for use in the seroprevalence study. The output from this indirect ELISA was expressed as a percentage positivity (PP) value. A proposed cut off (PCO) PP was applied in a cross-sectional study of a stratified random sample of 1,175 Irish dairy and beef cattle herds in 2009, using serum pools, to estimate herd seroprevalence. The study was observational, based primarily on the analysis of existing samples, and only aggregated results were reported. For these reasons, ethical approval was not required. Bulk milk samples from a subset of 111 dairy herds were analysed using the same ELISA. Information regarding vaccine usage was determined in a telephone survey. A PCO PP of 7.88% was determined to give 97.1% sensitivity and 100% specificity relative to the use of the ELISA on individual sera giving maximization of the prevalence independent Youden's index, on receiver operating characteristics analysis of replicate results. The herd-level BHV-1 seroprevalence was 74.9% (95% CI - 69.9%-79.8%), with no significant difference between dairy and beef herds. 95.5% agreement in herd classification was found between bulk milk and serum pools. Only 1.8 percent of farmers used BHV-1 marker vaccine, 80% of which was live while 75% of vaccinated herds were dairy.A significant association was found between herd size (quartiles) and seroprevalence (quartiles). The results from this study indicate BHV-1 infection is endemic, although BHV-1 vaccines are rarely used, in the cattle population in Ireland.
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