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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Malignant Catarrhal Fever in Bison

Authors
item O'Toole, D. - UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING
item LI, HONG
item Crawford, T. - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Smoke Signals
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF), a severe, globally distributed viral disease syndrome of several ruminant species, such as cattle, bison and deer, is caused by a group of herpesviruses. MCF has become a major problem in many commercial bison herds in North America. Using Q&A format, this article provided update information about MCF in bison for veterinarians and bison producers. In the article, we generally described the disease, its pathology, transmission, and epidemiology. We introduced the new diagnostic methods and discussed the methods of choice. The treatment and control for the disease were also discussed.

Technical Abstract: Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF), a severe, globally distributed viral disease syndrome of several ruminant species, is induced by a group of gammaherpesviruses. MCF has become a major problem in commercial bison herds in North America. Using a Q&A format, this article provided current information about MCF in bison for veterinarians and bison producers. Because of a lack of reliable diagnostic methods in the past, the magnitude of the MCF problem in bison has not been realized until recent years. All species of bison are susceptible. Infected sheep are the principal source of MCF outbreaks in bison. So far, there is no evidence that transmission occurs horizontally from one bison to another. There is no treatment for MCF and case mortality is over 95%. Reliable diagnostic methods have recently been developed, including competitive ELISA for antibody and PCR for viral DNA. Currently there are no control measures (including no vaccine) available, except physical separation of bison from infected sheep.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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