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Reichmann, Frederike; Pfitzner, Annette; Rademacher, Guenter; Schwedinger, Elke; Cussler, Klaus and Sauter-Louis, Carola M. (2016): Incidence of bovine neonatal pancytopenia in 243 farms in Germany. In: BMC Veterinary Research 12:220 [PDF, 1MB]

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Background: Several research groups from different European countries have worked on the aetiopathogenesis of bovine neonatal pancytopenia (BNP) and an association between the use of the vaccine PregSure BVD (Pfizer, Germany) and the development of this haemorrhagic disease was confirmed. Because BNP is not a notifiable disease, it is difficult to obtain information on its incidence. Based on pharmacovigilance (PhV) data, which are the only officially available data at the national level, the incidence of BNP is considered low. However, voluntary reporting of the disease can lead to underreporting. To gain more insight into the incidence of BNP among the affected herds, an epidemiological study was performed, which focused on 243 farms in Germany with cases of BNP. Farmers were asked to report the occurrence of BNP, including the number of cases, which allowed calculation of incidence in the affected herds. Matching such data with the registered cases in the National PhV System (NPhVS) gave us an opportunity to assess the extent of BNP underreporting. Results: On 243 farms, a total of 1195 calves younger than 4 weeks with haemorrhagic diathesis were registered. In 58 % of the reports, a diagnosis of BNP was confirmed by blood analysis and or by necropsy. The number of cases observed on individual farms ranged from 1 to 80. Based on these results, the incidence of BNP on affected farms ranged from 0.3 to 15.2 % (median 2.9 %). The maximal incidence in the year with the highest number of BNP calves ranged between 0.4 and 18.6 % (median 3.3 %). Comparing the number of cases registered in the NPhVS to the numbers found in this study revealed considerable underreporting to the national database: only 44 % of the farms and 41 % of the BNP calves included in the study were registered in the NPhVS. Conclusions: In spite of the opportunity to report BNP calves to the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (Langen, Germany), the estimated number of undetected BNP cases is remarkably high. However, even if the revealed substantial underreporting is taken into account, the incidence of BNP is low. Nevertheless, the incidence on some affected farms is very high, resulting in considerable financial losses that should not be underestimated. Although the exact pathomechanism of BNP at the molecular level is still not known, its incidence is clearly declining following withdrawal of PregSure BVD from the market.

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