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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Immunological Intervention of Malignant Catarrhal Fever Virus-Induced Disease in Ruminants

Location: Animal Disease Research

Title: Malignant catarrhal fever in American bison (Bison bison) experimentally infected with alcelaphine herpesvirus 2)

item Taus, Naomi
item O'toole, Donal
item Herndon, David
item Cunha, Cristina
item Warg, Janet
item Seal, Bruce
item Brooking, Angela
item Li, Hong

Submitted to: Veterinary Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2014
Publication Date: 4/13/2014
Citation: Taus, N.S., O'Toole, D., Herndon, D.R., Cunha, C.W., Warg, J.V., Seal, B.S., Brooking, A., Li, H. 2014. Malignant catarrhal fever in American bison (Bison bison) experimentally infected with alcelaphine herpesvirus 2. Veterinary Microbiology. DOI:10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.04.003.

Interpretive Summary: Appreciable death loss in ranched bison throughout North America results from malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) caused by ovine herpesvirus-2 (OvHV-2). A vaccine is urgently needed by producers to protect their stock. Because OvHV-2 cannot currently be grown in cell culture, it is not possible to attenuate it for use as a modified live vaccine. One strategy to overcome this barrier is to use a related virus, which can be grown in culture and which does not cause disease, as a vehicle to carry genes from OvHV-2 that stimulate a protective immune response. Alcelaphine herpesvirus-2 (AlHV-2) is a candidate virus to develop into such a vector; it can be grown in cell culture and has not been reported to cause disease. Six bison were inoculated with AlHV-2 via the airway or into the muscle. All six animals were infected and three of them developed MCF. Thus AlHV-2 is not suitable as a vaccine vector without first being modified so that it does not cause disease in bison.

Technical Abstract: Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) due to ovine herpesvirus-2 (OvHV-2) causes appreciable death loss in ranched bison (Bison bison) throughout North America. No vaccine exists to protect animals from disease. Since OvHV-2 has not been propagated in vitro, one strategy to develop a modified live vaccine is to use a closely related but non-pathogenic member of the malignant catarrhal fever virus family as a vector to express protective OvHV-2 epitopes. Alcelaphine herpesvirus-2 (AlHV-2) derived from topi (Damaliscus lunatus) has not been reported to cause disease following experimental challenge. AlHV-2 was tested for its ability to infect and induce disease in American bison. Six yearling bison were inoculated intranasally (n = 3) or intramuscularly (n = 3) with 2 x10-4.7 TCID50 of AlHV-2, and monitored for infection and the development of disease. All six inoculated bison became infected with AlHV-2. Three of the six animals developed clinical signs and had gross and/or histological lesions consistent with MCF, which differed in distribution from those in bison with MCF due to OvHV-2. Unmodified AlHV-2 is an unsuitable vaccine vector for the prevention of MCF.

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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