Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) is a pestivirus that affects members of the order
Artiodactyla, including members of the subfamily Bovinae. Little is known about the
seroprevalence of BVDV in southern Africa, especially the prevalence in wild ruminant
populations such as kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros). A handful of random surveys suggested
that seroprevalence ranged between 6% and 70% in southern African wild ruminants.
The present study aimed to determine the seroprevalence of BVDV amongst kudu and
eland (Taurotragus oryx) from Namibia and South Africa. A BVDV-specific enzyme-linked
immunosorbent assay was performed on 50 serum samples from kudu and eland from South
Africa and Namibia. The seroprevalence of BVDV in South African kudu was 71%, identical
to that in Namibian kudu. The seroprevalence in Namibian eland was 40%. The kudu and
cattle farming (free ranging) regions in Namibia predominantly overlap in the central
regions, ensuring ample opportunity for cross-species transmission of BVDV. It is therefore
important to determine the true prevalence of BVDV in southern Africa in both domesticated
and wild animals. In addition, a potential link between BVDV incidence and a devastating
rabies epidemic in Namibian kudu was proposed and such a notion could be supported or
discredited by comparative prevalence data.