Ahead of the NSW state election on 25 March 2023, the NSW Government caretaker period has commenced. Limited updates will be made to this website during this period.

Bovine ephemeral fever: Three Day Sickness


Bovine Ephemeral Fever (BEF) is a viral disease of cattle and buffalo. Typically, affected animals are only sick for a few days, hence the alternative name - Three Day Sickness.

There is a sudden onset of fever- as high as 410C compared with the normal temperature of about 380C. The temperature returns to normal within 36 hours.

The first sign in milking cows is a sudden and severe drop in milk production. Cows in advanced pregnancy may abort. This is probably because of the fever, rather than a specific effect of the virus.

Animals stop eating and drinking and become depressed. They usually drool saliva, develop a stringy nasal discharge, and may have watery eyes.

This Primefact covers the following topics:

  • Clinical signs
  • How is BEF spread?
  • Where does the disease occur?
  • When does it occur?
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Immunity
  • Prevention


Primefact 1423 First Edition

Published: Oct 2016