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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Malignant Catarrhal Fever in Switzerland. Part One:epidemiology (In German)

Authors
item Muller-Doblies, U - UNIV OF ZURICH
item Egli, J - UNIV OF ZURICH
item Li, Hong
item Braun, U - UNIV OF ZURICH
item Ackermann, M - UNIV OF ZURICH

Submitted to: Swiss Archives of Veterinary Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 22, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) is a herpesviral disease of cattle and other animals with global distribution. In this study, we investigated the MCF epidemiology based on field cases in Switzerland. Throughout a three-year period, we observed that MCF incidence in Switzerland was 0.6%. The disease occurred seasonally and it was an age-related. About 50% of all cases and all outbreaks with more than one animal in a single herd occurred between April and June. Animals between six months and two years were strongly over represented. Observation on four surviving cattle showed that the outcome of the disease is not invariably fatal and that these persistently infected cows can produce healthy negative calves. The study also indicated that sheep are the main reservoir for the virus and vertical intrauterine infection is not the main mode of viral transmission among sheep.

Technical Abstract: Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) is a usually fatal infection of cattle with global distribution. Based on recent introduction of a diagnostic PCR assay and competitive inhibition ELISA (ciELISA), epidemiology data were collected on field cases in Switzerland. Throughout a three-year period, an MCF incidence of 0.6% was observed, with a gradient of cases from Eastern to Western Switzerland. While the cantons Wallis, Vaud and Geneva reported no and the remaining western cantons only reported a few cases, the highest incidence was observed in the cantons Appenzell inner- rhoden, Lucern, Glarus, Grison, St. Gallen, Schwyz, and Thurgau. MCF occurred seasonally and an age-related clustering was also observed. About 50% of all cases and all outbreaks with more than one animal in a single herd occurred between April and June. Animals between six months and two years were strongly over represented. Observation on four surviving cattle showed that the outcome of the disease is not invariably fatal and that these persistently infected cows can produce healthy negative calves. Investigations on the etiology indicate that main reservoir for OvHV-2 is sheep and possibly goats, while cattle do not normally harbor the virus. An OvHV-2 negative sheep herd was raised from lambs, which were reared colostrums-free and in isolation from their mothers. The success rate clearly indicated that vertical intrauterine infection is not the main mode of transmission among sheep. Therefore, horizontal seasonally occurring transmission of OvHV-2 among sheep has to be assumed.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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