Herd immunity, like social distancing, is part of the new jargon that entered everyday discussions in 2020.  I'm a lot like you, I understand herd immunity, but reading Doctor Gerald Stokka's livestock summary of the concept is pretty darn interesting.  Especially if you're a city boy like me. By "city",  I mean Minot, Mandan, and Bismarck which ain't New York, but it ain't New Salem.

Gerald Stokka is a veterinarian and livestock-steward specialist for North Dakota State University-Extension. So let's let the smart guy get us started.  This from Ag Update

A good example of the importance of individual immunity is the practice of vaccinating horses to protect them against the disease caused by the West Nile virus. The West Nile virus is transmitted to horses through the mosquito. The virus cycles between mosquitoes and bird populations, with horses and humans becoming infected when bitten by an infected mosquito. Horses, humans and other mammals are known as dead-end hosts because they cannot infect other like species.

So you vaccinate for West Nile to prevent loss of individuals, but as stated, for diseases like this we are dead end hosts.

But COVID-19 is not like that- it's more like "bovine virus diarrhea" which Gerald says has little to do with diarrhea but is comparable to COVID in it's communicability (I might have made up that word).

The virus is spread from animal to animal through nose-to-nose contact and also likely through the fecal-oral route. The infection is most harmful when a developing fetus is infected. Provided the calf survives the infection, the calf is born with the virus. It will shed, or expose others to, the virus for its entire life. That becomes the No. 1 reason the virus is maintained in cattle population.

Sorry about the whole fecal/oral part...but kids aren't BORN with COVID (or are they?)

funny goat puts out its tongue

That's a "kid" joke!  City boy indeed.

This type of vaccine has two purposes...Professor Hammer explains-

Carrie Hammer, a professor in the North Dakota State University-Animal Sciences Department, said, “One is to vaccinate the cow so that she develops individual immunity, which will protect her fetus from exposure and infection.

OK, so we're all still now in the comment section discussing lifetime COVID spreading newborns...but let's get to the point.

The second goal is to achieve herd immunity. When the transmission of a disease is animal to animal, the number of animals that are at risk of infection is important.

Once an animal is infected and survives, its immune system has won the battle and the virus is eliminated. The greater the number of survivors, or immune animals, the less likely the virus can find another susceptible one. Thus the herd actually protects the remaining animals that still are susceptible.

I thank you for coming this far.  Since you did, I strongly suggest you click on this link to read the rest of this great article on Ag Update.

Want to learn about a "herd" you go to the experts.

Border Collie Breed (9 months) in front of a white background
Eric IsselÃÂée

Now let's look at some MORE DOGS!



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