Fourteen clinically healthy cattle that were persistently infected with non-cytopathic bovine virus diarrhoea virus (BVDV) and three BVDV-free cattle were inoculated with one of three cytopathic BVDV strains. Mucosal disease developed in 12 of the viraemic cattle, resulting in a moribund condition 17 to 99 days after inoculation. Two of the viraemic cattle remained clinically healthy until the end of the experiment, 14 months after inoculation. The BVDV-free cattle did not develop clinical signs after inoculation. From each cow with mucosal disease a noncytopathic and a cytopathic BVDV strain were isolated from tissue specimens collected post mortem. All the cattle developed moderate to high levels of neutralising antibodies against the cytopathic BVDV strain with which they were inoculated. The antibodies from 10 of the 12 cattle with mucosal disease did not react with the cytopathic BVDV strains isolated post mortem, and antibodies from none of them reacted with the non-cytopathic BVDV isolates. Antibody responses to the inoculated BVDV strains developed earlier in the viraemic cattle than in the BVDV-free cattle.
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