The role of bovine respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza type 3 virus and bovine herpesvirus 1 as disease agents in 28 groups of young cattle on 19 dairy farms which raised their own replacements was investigated. Bovine respiratory syncytial virus infections occurred in 27, parainfluenza type 3 virus infections in all and bovine herpesvirus 1 infections in three of the 28 groups. Some infections were accompanied by clinical signs while others were entirely subclinical. Clinical respiratory disease was observed on 25 occasions in 20 of the groups. Respiratory disease was associated with a bovine respiratory syncytial virus infection on 15 occasions with parainfluenza type 3 virus infection in four cases and with bovine herpesvirus 1 infection in two cases. In four cases there was no association between the respiratory disease and any of the four virus infections. Bovine respiratory syncytial virus infections caused more serious respiratory problems than parainfluenza type 3 virus infections.
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