Pathogenic Vesivirus comprise a genus within the family Caliciviridae, infect a wide range of species, and are found in cats throughout the world; however, they have not generally been recognized as a disease agent in cattle despite the fact that natural infections were first described1,2 in cattle >20 years ago. The prototype for the virus family and genus was first recognized in swine in 1932 in an outbreak of vesicular disease that was mistakenly diagnosed as foot-and-mouth disease and subsequently named VES.3–5 Between 1932 and 1956, there were 1,563 outbreaks of VES recorded, all in swine and most associated with feeding raw garbage to susceptible pigs.5 In 1953, a federal law that required cooking of all garbage used for feeding of swine was enforced, and the disease disappeared and was declared an eradicated foreign animal disease in 1959.5 Since then, there has not been routine testing and reporting of vesivirus infections by veterinary diagnostic laboratories in the United States, although vesiviruses can infect an unusually broad range of hosts, such as fish, reptiles, birds, cetaceans, seals, swine, cattle, primates, and humans, to cause various sometimes severe diseases, including abortion, hepatitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, myocarditis, and encephali-1,2,6–9,a Vesiviruses mutate readily,8 have the ability to cause diseases within and among various host species,6 and are readily transmitted among species, as indicated by spread among wildlife, domestic livestock, and humans.7,8,10 The oceans provide primary-reservoir hosts for amplifying vesiviruses, which can then spread into terrestrial species, thereby establishing an important and unusual mode of viral traffic involving the VES or SMSV.2,6,8,11
One such vesivirus, SMSV-5, was first recovered from vesicular lesions on the flippers of a Northern fur seal (Calorrhinus ursinus) in the Bering Sea and has subsequently been isolated from humans with vesicular lesions and calves with diarrhea.2,6,7 An antigen expressed as a fusion peptide derived from the SMSV-5 capsid protein9 recognized 80% of the >40 known vesivirus serotypes and has been validated by use of preexposure and postexposure rabbit-generated, virus-neutralizing, vesivirus-typing sera.a Human sera testing positive by use of an ELISA with a pooled antigen containing SMSV-5 also reacted to SMSV-5 capsid antigen by use of western blot analysis.7,8 Sera (n = 1,046) of cattle from Kansas, which were obtained as a county-by-county National Animal Health Monitoring System sample, were tested for SMSV-5–neutralizing antibody, and 146 (14%) had positive results.2 Thus, cattle can be hosts of vesivirus under conditions of natural exposure, and the virus has been isolated from cattle in association with abortion, diarrhea, severe respiratory tract disease, and vesicular disease.1,2,6,9,a
Because diagnostic reagents for routine testing for this class of Vesivirus spp have not been available, vesivirus-specific diagnostic tests have not been performed and the association between the virus and various conditions in cattle has not been reported by veterinary diagnostic laboratories.9 The study reported here was conducted to estimate a more general infection rate for vesivirus by determining seroprevalence among samples of bovine sera submitted for various reasons to a veterinary diagnostic laboratory serving the northwestern United States and to report on a point-prevalence estimate of antivesivirus antibodies in cattle.
Vesicular exanthema of swine
San Miguel sea lion vesivirus
SMSV serotype 5
Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
Bovine leukemia virus
Bovine viral diarrhea virus
Bovine herpesvirus 1
TBS containing Tween 20
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Excel, Microsoft Corp, Redmond, Wash.
Data from the Laboratory for Calicivirus Studies, Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore, US patent No. 6,593,080.
Abbott Diagnostic Core R&D, Abbott Laboratories, North Chicago, Ill.
96-well microtiter plates, ICN Biomedicals, Costa Mesa, Calif.
SuperBlock DryBlend, Pierce, Rockford, Ill.
Monoclonal Anti-bovine IgG alkaline phosphatase conjugate, No. A-7554, Sigma Chemical Co, St Louis, Mo.
Blue PhosMicrowell, Sigma Chemical Co, St Louis, Mo.
Titertek Multiskan, Titertek, Huntsville, Ala.
Epi-Info, version 6.0, CDC, Atlanta, Ga.
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