A farmed red deer in contact with a flock of lambing ewes developed malignant catarrhal fever (MCF). Tissues from this deer were homogenised and inoculated into two rabbits one of which developed a febrile response on the 11th day. This rabbit was killed on the following day after developing conjunctivitis and hyperaemia of the nostrils. The condition was transmitted from this rabbit through a further three rabbit passes. Of 21 rabbits inoculated 15 reacted after three to 29 days. The clinical and pathological disease that developed was indistinguishable from the response of rabbits to infection with the virus of MCF of wildebeest origin. Infectivity was retained in homogenised tissues stored at -80 degrees C in 10% dimethyl sulphoxide but could not be detected in supernatant fluid of a lightly centrifuged tissue homogenate, which suggests that the agent is cell associated.
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