The BVD virus spreads by two methods (1) direct transmission between animals through physicalcontact and, (2) virus invading the foetus in a pregnant cow. If a cow is infected from 1 to 4 months ofpregnancy and the calf survives there is a strong chance that the calf will be born persistently infectedwith the virus and thus becomes a carrier.BVD can cross species lines thus infecting other animals, like sheep, goats, and chimpanzees; oncethey are infected they are prone to developing diseases associated with BVD. Estimates, from 2006,point to most New Zealand cattle herds being affected by the BVD virus at some point with more than60% showing evidence of recent infection.Pestivirus infections were thought to occur exclusively in animals but recent evidence suggestsotherwise. Research conducted overseas has shown the presence of anti-BVDV antibodies in 87% ofanimal handlers and veterinarians that were studied. Lower prevalence (15-16%) has been reported inadults. Another investigation among children under two years of age shown Pestivirus antigens werepresent in 24% of specimens from diarrhoea episodes that could not be explained by more commonenteric pathogens.The role of pestiviruses in human pathologies remains uncertain but observations suggest the potentialof causing emerging infections in humans. Some studies that have been done suggest a link betweenPestivirus and neurological disorders in humans.Sheep infected with the BVDV
leads to extensive necroses and cysts in the periventricularwhite matter and enlarged ventricles in lamb foetuses. This type of damage closely resembles that ofWMD (white matter damage) in preterm human children. Epidemiologic observations support thecontention that infection, inflammation, and neonatal white matter damage (WMD) are associated. Thereis also documentation from multiple experimental models that infection/inflammation can damagedeveloping white matter.In addition, BVD infection is accompanied by a decrease in thyroid hormone activity in lambs. Lowthyroid hormone values are also an important indicator of maldevelopment among preterm humaninfants.Given
tropism for nervous cells in animal pathology, these findings deserve further evaluationin order to examine the full extent of the problem in the human population.
Bovine Immunodeficiency Virus (BIV)
Bovine Immunodeficiency-like virus (BIV) is a member of the
subfamily of retroviruses.The virus, bovine immunodeficiency-like virus, or BIV, is spread through the blood and is a member of afamily of slow-acting viruses that have been shown to reduce the activity of an animal's immune system.Its genetic structure is similar to the human AIDS virus. Bovine immunodeficiency viruses can also beproperly referred to as bovine AIDS virusIt is rare to see cows with overt symptoms of the disease--swollen lymph nodes, neurological illness,and wasting. That's because symptoms like decreased milk production and increased susceptibility toinfection, which are believed to be earlier and more subtle effects of BIV, usually prompt dairy farmers tocull cattle from their herds before the full-blown onset of the disease. For the same reason, it is notknown whether BIV is normally lethal.This virus is able to cross the bovine placenta at various stages of gestation, resulting in very differentclinical outcomes such as: fetal abortion, congenital defects, and offspring that are persistently infected.Bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV) is a retrovirus which is genetically and antigenically related to thehuman immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1)It should be noted that the BIV virus can cross species lines and infect other animals, like sheep, goats,and primates.
Mycobacterium Paratuberculosis (MAP) aka Johne’s disease
Another disease in New Zealand cattle that should be closely scrutinised is MycobacteriumParatuberculosis (MAP) commonly called Johne’s disease, which is closely related to the organisms thatcause tuberculosis and leprosy.