A systematic review of financial and economic assessments of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) prevention and mitigation activities worldwide
Infection with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) results in major economic losses either directly through decreased productive performance in cattle herds or indirectly, such as through expenses for control programs. The aim of this systematic review was to review financial and/or economic assessment studies of prevention and/or mitigation activities of BVDV at national, regional and farm level worldwide. Once all predefined criteria had been met, 35 articles were included for this systematic review. Studies were analyzed with particular focus on the type of financially and/or economically-assessed prevention and/or mitigation activities. Due to the wide range of possible prevention and/or mitigation activities, these activities were grouped into five categories: i) control and/or eradication programs, ii) monitoring or surveillance, iii) prevention, iv) vaccination and v) individual culling, control and testing strategies. Additionally, the studies were analyzed according to economically-related variables such as efficiency, costs or benefits of prevention and/or mitigation activities, the applied financial and/or economic and statistical methods, the payers of prevention and/or mitigation activities, the assessed production systems, and the countries for which such evaluations are available. Financial and/or economic assessments performed in Europe were dominated by those from the United Kingdom, which assessed mostly vaccination strategies, and Norway which primarily carried out assessments in the area of control and eradication programs; whereas among non-European countries the United States carried out the majority of financial and/or economic assessments in the area of individual culling, control and testing. More than half of all studies provided an efficiency calculation of prevention and/or mitigation activities and demonstrated whether the inherent costs of implemented activities were or were not justified. The dairy sector was three times more likely to be assessed by the countries than beef production systems. In addition, the dairy sector was approximately eight times more likely to be assessed economically with respect to prevention and/or mitigation activities than calf and youngstock production systems. Furthermore, the private sector was identified as the primary payer of prevention and/or mitigation activities. This systematic review demonstrated a lack of studies relating to efficiency calculations, in particular at national and regional level, and the specific production systems. Thus, we confirmed the need for more well-designed studies in animal health economics in order to demonstrate that the implementation and inherent costs of BVDV prevention and/or mitigation activities are justified.