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The detrimental effect of bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8) on fertility was quantified in seroconverting cows. Although the effect on individual cows provides information regarding the potential biological burden of infection, losses at a herd level are also dependent on the proportion of infected cows within the herd. The objectives of this study were to quantify the average effect of BTV-8 exposure in field conditions on the fertility of dairy cows in previously naïve herds, and to determine the at-risk period of decreased fertility related to the date of detection of the disease in the herd. The effect of BTV-8 exposure on fertility was assessed using the 90-d-return-to-service rates after the first artificial insemination (AI) calculated for cows in exposed herds (during the 2007 epizootic in France) and compared with that for cows in unexposed herds. Only herds with a confirmed detection that were reported after clinical suspicion were included. To determine the at-risk period of decreased fertility, variations of fertility in exposed herds were quantified according to the time interval between the date of AI for individual cows and the date that disease was detected in the herd. Survival analyses were used to assess the risk of decreased fertility associated with BTV-8 exposure, adjusting for the main factors known to influence fertility. The episode at risk for decreased fertility depended on the month of disease detection in the herd. For herds detected early in the epizootic, fertility was decreased for cows inseminated from 1mo before to 1mo after the date of disease detection in the herd. Depending on time interval between the date of AI of cows and the date of detection in the herd, the increase of return-to-service rate associated with BTV-8 exposure varied from 8 to 21 percentage points of 90-d return to service. The episode of decreased fertility is likely due to a combination of the effect of the infection at different stages of conception and early pregnancy and the delayed exposure of cows due to the spreading of the virus within herds. For herds detected during the second half of the epizootic, fertility was decreased for cows inseminated more than 2mo before detection, which suggests a delay in the detection of clinical signs following virus introduction in the herd. No correlation was observed between the effect of BTV-8 exposure on fertility and the incidence of BTV-8 in the local geographical area. Given the duration of the period that cows were at risk for decreased fertility and the magnitude of the effect, the average BTV-8 exposure in naïve herds led to major losses. Copyright © 2012 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Citation

S Nusinovici, H Seegers, A Joly, F Beaudeau, C Fourichon. Quantification and at-risk period of decreased fertility associated with exposure to bluetongue virus serotype 8 in naïve dairy herds. Journal of dairy science. 2012 Jun;95(6):3008-20


PMID: 22612937

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