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Objective—To determine the ability of a modified-live virus (MLV) bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) type 1 (BVDV1) vaccine administered to heifers prior to breeding to stimulate protective immunity that would block transmission of virulent heterologous BVDV during gestation, thus preventing persistent infection of a fetus.

Animals—40 crossbred Angus heifers that were 15 to 18 months old and seronegative for BVDV and 36 calves born to those heifers.

Procedure—Heifers were randomly assigned to control (n = 13) or vaccinated (27) groups. The control group was administered a multivalent vaccine wherein the BVDV component had been omitted. The vaccinated heifers were administered a single dose of vaccine (IM or SC) containing MLV BVDV1 (WRL strain). All vaccinated and control heifers were maintained in pastures and exposed to BVDV-negative bulls 21 days later. Thirty-five heifers were confirmed pregnant and were challenge exposed at 55 to 100 days of gestation by IV administration of virulent BVDV1 (7443 strain).

Results—All control heifers were viremic following challenge exposure, and calves born to control heifers were persistently infected with BVDV. Viremia was not detected in the vaccinated heifers, and 92% of calves born to vaccinated heifers were not persistently infected with BVDV.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These results document that vaccination with BVDV1 strain WRL protects fetuses from infection with heterologous virulent BVDV1. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:530–537)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research