Article Text

Replication of bovine viral diarrhoea virus in the bovine reproductive tract and excretion of virus in semen during acute and chronic infections
  1. PD Kirkland,
  2. SG Richards,
  3. JT Rothwell and
  4. DF Stanley
  1. New South Wales Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Menangle, New South Wales, Australia.


Five mature bulls were studied during an acute transient infection with bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV). The bulls had been infected experimentally by the intranasal instillation of blood and serum from a cow which was a persistent carrier of the virus. Infection was confirmed by the demonstration of a low titred viraemia in four of the five animals and by the seroconversion of all five. Semen samples were collected from each bull on four occasions between seven and 14 days after infection. The virus was isolated from the semen of three of the five bulls and from nine of 12 batches of semen from them. In contrast to other studies of the infection of semen, BVDV was isolated with similar efficiency from raw, unprocessed semen and from diluted, extended semen. The titres of virus in the semen ranged from 5 to 75 TCID50/ml. The infection did not appear to affect the quality of the semen. Shedding of virus continued after the end of the period of viraemia and appeared to be a consequence of the replication of the virus in the reproductive tract and its subsequent excretion in the seminal fluid. Virological studies of the reproductive tracts of these bulls suggested that the most productive sites of virus replication were the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland. Concurrent studies in a persistently infected bull supported these findings.

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