Investigation of an epizootic of bovine viral diarrhea virus infection in calves

Robert E. Holland From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Holland, Sprecher) and the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (Patterson, Steficek, Trapp), Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, and the Diagnostic Laboratory, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14851 (Bezek).

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David J. Bezek From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Holland, Sprecher) and the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (Patterson, Steficek, Trapp), Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, and the Diagnostic Laboratory, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14851 (Bezek).

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David J. Sprecher From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Holland, Sprecher) and the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (Patterson, Steficek, Trapp), Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, and the Diagnostic Laboratory, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14851 (Bezek).

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Jon S. Patterson From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Holland, Sprecher) and the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (Patterson, Steficek, Trapp), Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, and the Diagnostic Laboratory, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14851 (Bezek).

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Barbara A. Steficek From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Holland, Sprecher) and the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (Patterson, Steficek, Trapp), Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, and the Diagnostic Laboratory, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14851 (Bezek).

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Allan L. Trapp From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Holland, Sprecher) and the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (Patterson, Steficek, Trapp), Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, and the Diagnostic Laboratory, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14851 (Bezek).

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Summary:

Eight of 19 calves born to bovine viral diarrhea virus (bvdv)-negative and -immunocompetent dams were determined to be infected with a noncytopathic strain of bvdv. Six of the 8 calves had diarrhea and 2 had no clinical signs of disease. In 3 euthanatized calves, lesions consistent with mucosal disease were found throughout the gastrointestinal tract, and the virus was isolated from the spleen, lymph nodes, and small intestine. In 5 calves, bvdv was isolated from mononuclear cells in blood samples obtained 21 days apart, indicating persistent infection. The virus was not isolated from sera obtained from 2 calves, with chronic nonclinical infections, that had neutralizing antibody titers ≥ 1:512 against bovine viral diarrhea-Singer virus and titers ≥ 1:256 against the persistent bvdv. Twenty-one days after vaccination with a vaccine that contained inactivated noncytopathic and cytopathic biotypes of bvdv, 4 of 5 persistently infected calves had neutralizing antibody titers ≤ 1:4 against the bovine viral diarrhea-Singer virus and their persistent virus. Prior to vaccination, 2 of 11 virus-negative calves had neutralizing antibody titers ≤ 1:128 against the bovine viral diarrhea-Singer virus, and after vaccination, only 1 virus-negative calf had a titer ≤ 1:512. At 149 days after revaccination and prior to weaning, 4 virus-negative calves had neutralizing antibody titers ≤ 1:512 (range, 1:16 to 1:384). Under the specific conditions in this herd, we were not able to detect a beneficial effect of vaccination. Colostral origin bvdv-specific antibody, capable of neutralizing the persistently infective bvdv strain, most likely interfered with isolation of the virus from the sera of 2 persistently infected calves.

Summary:

Eight of 19 calves born to bovine viral diarrhea virus (bvdv)-negative and -immunocompetent dams were determined to be infected with a noncytopathic strain of bvdv. Six of the 8 calves had diarrhea and 2 had no clinical signs of disease. In 3 euthanatized calves, lesions consistent with mucosal disease were found throughout the gastrointestinal tract, and the virus was isolated from the spleen, lymph nodes, and small intestine. In 5 calves, bvdv was isolated from mononuclear cells in blood samples obtained 21 days apart, indicating persistent infection. The virus was not isolated from sera obtained from 2 calves, with chronic nonclinical infections, that had neutralizing antibody titers ≥ 1:512 against bovine viral diarrhea-Singer virus and titers ≥ 1:256 against the persistent bvdv. Twenty-one days after vaccination with a vaccine that contained inactivated noncytopathic and cytopathic biotypes of bvdv, 4 of 5 persistently infected calves had neutralizing antibody titers ≤ 1:4 against the bovine viral diarrhea-Singer virus and their persistent virus. Prior to vaccination, 2 of 11 virus-negative calves had neutralizing antibody titers ≤ 1:128 against the bovine viral diarrhea-Singer virus, and after vaccination, only 1 virus-negative calf had a titer ≤ 1:512. At 149 days after revaccination and prior to weaning, 4 virus-negative calves had neutralizing antibody titers ≤ 1:512 (range, 1:16 to 1:384). Under the specific conditions in this herd, we were not able to detect a beneficial effect of vaccination. Colostral origin bvdv-specific antibody, capable of neutralizing the persistently infective bvdv strain, most likely interfered with isolation of the virus from the sera of 2 persistently infected calves.

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