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‘IBR’ stand for ‘Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis’ indicating that the disease spreads between cattle and usually causes the nose and upper airways to become inflamed.

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Cows grazing in a field.

Dr Maria Guelbenzu

Dr Maria Guelbenzu

BVD & IBR Programme Manager


After graduating from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zaragoza (Spain) Maria moved to Northern Ireland, where she gained five years of experience as a veterinary practitioner in a mixed practice. She joined the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) as a Veterinary Research Officer in 2005, working initially on contingency planning for epizootic diseases such as avian influenza and swine fever. From January 2008 Maria managed the diagnostic virology laboratory (classical and molecular virology) and serology at AFBI’s Veterinary Sciences Division, becoming Technical Manager for ISO17025 accredited serological and molecular tests. Maria has worked in the AFBI Cattle Health Scheme (CHS) since 2008, leading and coordinating it since 2010. This is a voluntary scheme which provides disease management programmes with the objective of accrediting disease-free or risk level status for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD), infectious bovine rhinotraqueitis (IBR), leptospirosis, neosporosis and Johne’s disease. For the last 10 years she has been involved in several research projects related to endemic diseases of cattle, focusing mostly on BVD and IBR. These projects have studied the diagnosis, epidemiology, cost and control of these diseases. Maria has been a member of Animal Health Ireland BVD and IBR Technical Working Groups since 2010 and 2011 respectively as well Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland BVD Implementation Group since it was set up. She was awarded a PhD from Queens University, Belfast, in 2015 for research on BVD. She has been Head of the Disease Surveillance and Investigation Branch in AFBI which delivers passive animal disease surveillance for Northern Ireland, since 2013 until joining Animal Health Ireland in 2018.

Dr Jonas Brock

Dr Jonas Brock

Assistant Programme Manager BVD & IBR Programme


Jonas graduated from Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) in 2018, with a degree in Data Science and Geoinformatics.  In 2019, he joined Animal Health Ireland to pursue a PhD developing the economic modelling required in the planning of national control programmes in the cattle sector in Ireland

This involved analysis of seroprevalence data to study transmission patterns of both IBR and BVD. A further component of this work was the development of epidemiological models that replicate the spread of infectious diseases in the Irish cattle population. These models are used to simulate the possible options and alternatives available when planning national disease control programmes.

He was awarded his PhD in 2021 from the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena for his research on epidemiological modelling of IBR control and eradication. In addition, he was also awarded the Konrad-Boegel-Award from the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (Germany), in recognition for his outstanding work in the field of veterinary epidemiology.

Following the award of his PhD, Jonas is continuing to work with AHI as an assistant programme manager, with a primary focus on BVD and IBR.


Service Provider Portal

The link below to AHI’s Service Provider Portal is for use by trained Veterinary Practitioners, in the context of all TASAH-funded activities including BVD, Irish Johne’s Control Programme, CellCheck, Parasite Control, Pig HealthCheck, Poultry and IBR.

Link to Portal