Two hundred and thirty-seven of 2052 cattle which had not been vaccinated against bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1) were seropositive in a glycoprotein B (gB)-blocking ELISA, but seronegative in a glycoprotein E (gE)- blocking ELISA. In order to detect whether they were latently infected with BHV-1, 10 of them were treated with corticosteroids irt an attempt to reactivate putatively latent virus. After successive treatments with dexamethasone and prednisolone, no virus excretion was detected and they showed no increase in antibody titres. In contrast, one gE-seropositive animal re-excreted BHV-1 and had a four-fold increase in antibody titre after the corticosteroid treatments. After slaughter, no BHV-1 DNA could be detected with a sensitive PCR in samples of the trigeminal, cervical and sacral ganglia and spinal cords of the gE-seronegative cattle.
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