Bovine ephemeral fever (or 3-day sickness) is an acute febrile illness of cattle and water buffaloes. Caused by an arthropod-borne rhabdovirus, bovine ephemeral fever virus (BEFV), the disease occurs seasonally over a vast expanse of the globe encompassing much of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Although mortality rates are typically low, infection prevalence and morbidity rates during outbreaks are often very high, causing serious economic impacts through loss of milk production, poor cattle condition at sale and loss of traction power at harvest. There are also significant impacts on trade to regions in which the disease does not occur, including the Americas and most of Europe. In recent years, unusually severe outbreaks of bovine ephemeral fever have been reported from several regions in Asia and the Middle East, with mortality rates through disease or culling in excess of 10-20%. There are also concerns that, like other vector-borne diseases of livestock, the geographic distribution of bovine ephemeral fever could expand into regions that have historically been free of the disease. Here, we review current knowledge of the virus, including its molecular and antigenic structure, and the epidemiology of the disease across its entire geographic range. We also discuss the effectiveness of vaccination and other strategies to prevent or control infection.
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© 2015 Walker and Klement.