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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Storz, Judy
item Lin, M
item Purdy, Charles
item Chouljenko, V
item Kousoulas, K
item Enright, F
item Gilmore, W
item Briggs, Robert - Bob
item Loan, Raymond

Submitted to: Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/29/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Shipping fever pneumonia occurs frequently among cattle after transport and is caused by a combination of viruses, bacteria, and stress. From two separate epizootics of shipping fever in herds totaling 225 calves, 26 calves died, 18 calves remained healthy, and the balance sickened but recovered. Comparison of those that died with those that remained healthy identified respiratory bovine coronavirus as the primary inciting cause of the epizootics. This virus was not previously recognized as a causative agent in shipping fever pneumonia, and protection against coronavirus may reduce losses from this disease.

Technical Abstract: Respiratory tract infections with viruses and Pasteurella spp. were determined sequentially among 26 cattle that died during two severe epizootics of shipping fever pneumonia. Nasal swab and serum samples were collected prior to onset of the epizootics, during disease progression, and after death, when necropsies were performed and lung samples were collected. Eighteen normal control cattle also were sampled at the beginning of the epizootics as well as at weekly intervals for 4 weeks. Respiratory bovine coronaviruses (RBCV) were isolated from nasal secretions of 21 and 25 cattle before and after transport. Two and 17 cattle nasally shed Pasteurella spp. before and after transport, respectively. RBCV were isolated at titers of 1 x 10(3) to 1.2 x 10(7) PFU per g of lung tissue from 18 cattle that died within 7 days of the epizootics, but not from the lungs of the remaining cattle that died on days 9 to 36. Twenty-five of the 26 lung samples were positive for Pasteurella spp., and their CFU ranged between 4.0 x 10(5) and 2.3 x 10(9) per g. These cattle were immunologically naive to both infectious agents at the onset of the epizootics, but those that died after day 7 had rising antibody titers against RBCV and Pasteurella haemolytica. In contrast, the 18 clinically normal and RBCV isolation-negative cattle had high hemagglutinin inhibition antibody titers to RBCV from the beginning, while their antibody responses to P. haemolytica antigens were delayed. Evans' criteria for causation were applied to our findings because of the multifactorial nature of shipping fever pneumonia. This analysis identified RBCV as the primary inciting cause in these two epizootics. These viruses were previously not recognized as a causative agent in this complex respiratory tract disease.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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