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Vaccine Touted Against Fever In Cattle

21 June 2007

TAIWAN - A yearly vaccination may decrease the risk to cattle of contracting bovine ephemeral fever (BEF), a viral cattle disease characterized by a short-term, acute fever, which leads to its being named the "three day sickness, " according to researchers of Tainan-based National Cheng Kung University (NCKU).

NCKU President Lai Ming-chao, National Science Council Vice Chairman Tai Chien, and Tainan County Magistrate Su Huan-chih jointly hosted a press conference Wednesday to announce the release of a new vaccine against mutant BEF virus, developed by NCKU with the Tainan county government cooperation.

BEF was first reported in South Africa in 1906. Taiwan was unaffected by outbreaks of the acute fever in cattle until 1967. Since then there have been five major outbreaks, in 1967, 1983-1984, 1989-1990, 1996, and 1999, with an average mortality rate of 5 percent.

This viral disease usually spreads in summer and early autumn, with young cows aged between six months and 2 years old most easily affected. Flying insects including mosquitoes, are responsible for the BEF transmission.

Infected cattle develop symptoms including fever and dyspnea, while dairy cows suffer a drop in production of approximately 50 percent.

Taiwan began performing BEF vaccination in 1985, with each animal being given two or three doses of vaccine each year. However because of viral mutations the traditional vaccine is no longer effective in guarding against outbreaks, NCKU researchers said.

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Source: The China Post


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