With the wet summer of 2022, this has been the year of insect borne diseases.
Initially, reports of cases of Ross River Virus and Murray Valley Encephalitis in horses were received. This was followed by the detection of Japanese Encephalitis across northern Victoria.
More recently, from mid to late March, a cluster of cases of Bovine Ephemeral Fever, also known as 'three-day sickness', was observed in cattle on properties in the Tallangatta area. Three-day sickness is a viral disease spread by biting insects such as mosquitoes and midges.
Outbreaks regularly occur in Queensland and on the north coast of NSW following summer rain. In Victoria, outbreaks are much rarer, with the last being in the summer of 2010, which affected cattle in the Upper Murray.
Clinically affected cattle develop a fever and become listless and reluctant to stand. These clinical signs typically last for three days before the cattle recover uneventfully, in line with the disease's colloquial name 'three-day sickness'.
On the properties on which three-day sickness was confirmed, the numbers of clinically affected cattle ranged from only one up to 17 cattle. During their illness, the clinical signs were relieved with veterinary administration of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
Previously infected cattle have no ongoing issues. In fact, they develop quite a strong immunity to protect themselves against future infections. The outbreak ceased as quickly as it began, and no further reports were received through April.
Interestingly, the nearest confirmed BEF cases this summer were in the Hunter Valley region of NSW, 550km away.
For further information regarding three-day sickness, please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer, or in NSW, your Local Land Services.
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