AS THE summer weather creates peak conditions for disease transmitting insects, cattle producers on the Coffs Coast are being reminded to protect herds from one of the most costly insect-borne diseases, Bovine Ephemeral Fever (BEF).
BEF, otherwise known as three-day sickness, is a viral disease of cattle transmitted by biting insects such as midges and mosquitoes.
As the name implies, BEF symptoms may only last a short time, but infection can result in significant, long-term economic losses.
BEF is a particular concern in larger, valuable classes of cattle and can cost the industry millions of dollars per year.
Three-day sickness can be more severe in bulls, fat, well-conditioned cows and pregnant and lactating cows, resulting in serious economic losses through reduced milk production, weight loss, lowered fertility, mis-mothering of calves and deaths.
These losses take time to regain and can severely impact profitability of cattle enterprises.
In light of the economic burden of three-day sickness, Meat and Livestock Australia's (MLA) Donor Company co-funded research to examine the efficacy of the current BEF vaccine across a range of BEF virus field isolates collected in northern Australia from 1980 through 2011.
The results confirmed the current vaccine reliably neutralises field strains of the virus.
"Vaccination is the only method of preventing BEF. The research indicates there has been no significant change to the virus in Australia in over 30 years and the current vaccine was shown to be effective across a range of viruses collected in the field," said Dr Georgia Deliyannis, Senior Principal Scientist, Pfizer Veterinary Medicine Research and development (VMRD), who conducted the research.
Producers should speak to their veterinarian for more information on an appropriate vaccination plan for their herd.