In January 1982 an outbreak of diarrhoea among adult dairy cows in a closed herd of approximately 200 milking animals was shown to be caused by the introduction of bovine virus diarrhoea virus (BVDV). Affected animals showed a significant reduction in milk yield. One animal died and four were culled. Eight cows aborted and one weak calf was born. Of 121 calves born that year, 26 died, mostly from pneumonia, but five aged from three weeks to five months had enteric lesions of mucosal disease. Subsequent investigations of the whole herd in 1983 and 1984 showed that virus spread among the adults was slow and that BVDV continued to make a major contribution to calf losses. Again the greatest cause of loss was suppurative or fibrinous pneumonia. Overall, BVDV was isolated from 36 animals. Isolation of virus from a wide range of tissues of individual animals confirmed that they were viraemic at death. Viruses from calves dying of pneumonia and from aborted fetuses were non-cytopathic in tissue culture. Isolates showing varying degrees of cytopathogenicity were obtained only from tissues of one calf with a congenital neurological defect and the seven animals with enteric lesions consistent with a diagnosis of mucosal disease. Blood from all 89 BVDV antibody-free animals older than three months was tested for the presence of BVDV. Altogether, 12 calves were identified as persistently viraemic and all were apparently healthy when bled. Only two matured normally, four grew poorly and six died.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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