Study indicates bovine coronavirus is highly prevalent on European dairy farms

MSD Animal Health has announced preliminary results of a field study evaluating the prevalence of bovine coronavirus (BCoV) in European dairy production. The findings, presented at the World Buiatrics Congress in Madrid on 5 September 2022, suggest that BCoV is commonly present in both the respiratory and enteric pathways in the dairy cattle population in Europe.

“Bovine coronavirus has long been suspected to be a worldwide endemic pathogen in cattle, and this is the first study to evaluate its prevalence in the dairy cattle population in Europe,” said Anna Catharina Berge, lead study author and academic advisor in the Unit of Epidemiology at the Veterinary School at Ghent University in Belgium.

The study aims to include a convenience sample of 130 European dairy farms, and 93 have been included and analysed so far. Nasal and faecal swabs are collected for BCoV detection and blood, and bulk tank milk samples are collected for specific BCoV antibody detection.

Among 93 dairy farms in Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Slovakia, the presence of BCoV was confirmed in 17% of nasal and 17% of faecal samples from the 93 herds analysed. 73% of herds had one or more animals that were BCoV positive on nasal or faecal swabs.

“There is no centralized European data available in the scientific literature concerning prevalence, and until now, no studies had ever evaluated herd-level risk factors for BCoV,” said second author Geert Vertenten, Global Technical Director Ruminant Biologicals, MSD Animal Health.

On each farm, an extensive questionnaire was performed to determine various husbandry factors (such as calf management), disease control measures (such as colostrum administration and vaccination of dams against BCoV) and biosecurity management factors. The study will characterize farm-level risk factors in management and biosecurity that are linked to BCoV infection in neonatal and weaned dairy calves.

The study is ongoing and additional results will be presented in future scientific forums.

MSD Animal Health scientific publications are available at:

Prevalence, Biosecurity and Risk Management of Coronavirus Infections on Dairy Farms in Europe by Anna Catharina Berge and Geert Vertenten was presented at the World Buiatrics Congress, Madrid, on 5 September 2022

[SOURCE: MSD Animal Health]

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