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Vaccination Cost Effective Against Contagious Agalactia

15 April 2015

GREECE - Vaccinating sheep against contagious agalactia (CA) is highly cost effective in Greek dairy flocks, according to research presented by George Valergakis at the British Society of Animal Science conference.

CA is a common disease across Southern Europe, and causes high milk losses and high mortality, resulting in a large financial burden on farmers. In addition, the losses continue into the next year due to reduced flock size and effects on reproduction.

The main symptoms of the disease include mastitis and arthritis, and it is easily identified through characteristic eye lesions.

Even though there is an effective vaccination against CA, many farmers in Greece do not use it, perhaps hoping that their farm will not become infected.

However, farmers and veterinarians have reported that CA outbreaks occur every five to 10 years on Greek farms.

Mr Valergakis and his colleagues set out to show the financial sense of using the vaccine.

They modelled over 3000 different scenarios, looking at the effects of milk losses, mortality and culling, next year's losses and treatment costs among others.

The cost of vaccination treatments including boosters represented only 2.3 per cent of the total financial losses due to CA, whereas milk losses from affected animals would cause 66.4 per cent losses.

This shows the strong financial incentive for taking preventative action against CA in Greece, with the cost of vaccinating the average ewe just €2.7, compared to losses per ewe of approximately €69-120.

Mr Valergakis said that the assessment did not even take into account some potential losses.

Alice Mitchell

Alice Mitchell
News Team - Editor