20 February, 2024

Three-day bovine fever warning

Cases of Bovine Ephemeral Fever (BEF) often referred to as three-day sickness have recently been confirmed in cattle herds near Gilgandra.

By Nicholas Croker, Cadet Journalist

Local district warning of Bovine Ephemeral Fever.
Local district warning of Bovine Ephemeral Fever.

With potential cases also reported around Forbes, it is expected that the disease will move through the central west region as the season progresses. BEF is transmitted through mosquitos and induces high fever, muscle and joint pain, and has the potential to cause serious economic and production losses.

District veterinarian Alicia Moses said the onset of clinical signs is usually rapid. Bulls and fat cows are

typically the worst affected. “[Symptoms] include fever, muscle stiffness, recumbency, swelling of joints, drooling, and ‘nasal and ocular discharge’.” She continued to say that in most cases, the infection has a short duration with rapid recovery, however occasional deaths have been reported.

Ms Moses reported that there are several other diseases that resemble three-day sickness requiring alternative treatment, making veterinary diagnosis essential. “Treatment with anti-inflammatory medicine, available from your private veterinarian, has been shown to reduce the course of the disease. Most animals will recover if supportive treatment including shade and water is provided. Proactive programming aimed to minimise insect bites will go a long way for mitigating the problem. A combination of pour on products and insecticidal ear tags are helpful in reducing insect burdens.

A vaccine is available, and its use is recommended for higher value animals or introduced cattle from areas which do not normally experience the virus. In areas where the virus is already active the vaccine is unlikely to provide protection.”


Most Popular