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Economic Evaluation of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus Control Activities Worldwide: A Systematic Review

Veronika Richter1, Clair L. Firth1, Karin Lebl2, Martine Trauffler1, Monika Dzieciol3, Sabine Hutter1, Johann Burgstaller4, Walter Obritzhauser1, Beate Pinior1

  • 1Institute of Veterinary Public Health, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, 2Güpferlingstrasse 33, 3Institute of Milk Hygiene, Milk Technology and Food Science, 4University Clinic for Ruminants, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria



The primary aim of this study was to assess studies with a specific emphasis on the costs and benefits of control activities of the bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) at national, regional and farm level. The second aim was to collect data with respect to direct (production) losses and indirect losses caused by the costs of BVDV control, as well as to the net benefits and costs of these control activities. Furthermore, we hypothesized that countries for which estimates of production losses are recorded also carry out economic assessments of their control activities.

Materials and Methods

An extensive literature search covering research from 1970 to 2014 was performed between December 2014 and July 2015 using the online databases PubMed, ISI Web of Science and Scopus. The search term “BVDV” was combined with the keywords “control program/me”, eradication, intervention, mitigation, surveillance, freedom of disease, biosecurity, Scandinavian strategy, “disease losses”, cost analysis, cost benefit, economics, economic models, expenses and financial impact.Each paper was first reviewed in full and the economic content (if available) was evaluated based on predefined economic assessment criteria ranked between high quality (1) and low quality (4). High quality studies include an economic analysis of control activities, the allocation of the costs and benefits per player as well as quantitative values of the economic assessment of control activities. The low quality studies do not include an economic analysis in their methods, but describe the economic outcome of their studies in passing and provide only qualitative values for control activities. All economically relevant studies (primary studies) were reviewed according to their location, assessment level (national, regional, industry, farm), aims, methodology, production types, metrics, outcomes and research field (e.g. epidemiology and risk; diagnostic and genomic analysis; vaccines and vaccination strategy). In the next step, the references of the primary studies were screened by title and abstract. Of these, all articles that were considered relevant were also reviewed in full (secondary studies).


Overall, 29% (n=144) of the identified articles (N=501) included information on economic assessments of BVDV control activities. Of these 144 articles, approximately 18% could be allocated to national, 25% to regional, 27% to farm level and 30% to no explicit geographical category. The most frequent aim of these studies (33%) was to describe or evaluate the eradication/control programmes or prevention approaches, followed by the description, evaluation or development of diagnostic methods or approaches (20%). Studies with the highest quality levels of the economic assessments were found in the United Kingdom, Norway and France, and studies with good quality levels were identified in the United States, Switzerland, New Zealand, Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark and Canada.In total, 50% of the studies made direct reference to cattle in general, with an additional 21% analysing dairy farms, 6% beef farms and 4% calves and youngstock. In the remaining 19%, no mention of bovine species or production type was made. Furthermore, 16% (n=80) of the studies provided data on direct losses due to reduced production. The studies with high quality assessments were found in 23% and the majority studies were conducted on the farm level.


Our systematic review shows that most studies (69%; [99/144]) on BVDV provided only qualitative values of control activities and did not include an economic methodology in their study design. This lack of economic assessment is also visible in the calculation of the production losses. Our hypothesis that countries which record production losses are also likely to carry out economic assessments of control activities could not be confirmed in full. Some countries calculated production losses but did not provide an economic assessment of control activities or did not conduct systematic control activities against BVDV.

  • Proceedings of the 29th World Buiatrics Congress, Dublin, Ireland, 3-8 July 2016 - Oral Communication and Poster Abstracts