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Pestiviral infections in sheep and pigs in Northern Ireland
  1. D. A. Graham, MVB, PhD,MRCVS1,
  2. V. Calvert1,
  3. A. German1 and
  4. S. J. McCullough, BVSc,PhD, MRCVS1
  1. 1 Veterinary Sciences Division, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland, Stoney Road, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3SD


Serological surveys were carried out to determine the prevalence of pestiviral infections in sheep and pigs in Northern Ireland. Sera from 918 ewes in 92 flocks from 10 regions were tested by ELISA for antibodies to border disease virus and positive results were obtained from 49 ewes (5.3 per cent) in 28 flocks (30.4 per cent). There were highly significant geographical variations in its flock prevalence ranging from 0 per cent in the Enniskillen region to 70 per cent in the Coleraine region. There was no significant association between the proportion of seropositive flocks and the presence of cattle on the farm (P=0.583). In the positive flocks, the average rate of seroprevalence was 17.5 per cent, and the highest was 40 per cent. Comparative neutralisation studies on 14 positive sera with bovine viral diarrhoea virus type I (BvDv I) and border disease virus revealed higher titres (≥four.fold) to BVDV I in all cases. Only one positive result was obtained when fluids from 186 aborted ovine fetuses were tested for border disease virus by ELISA. Serum samples from 680 pigs in 46 herds were tested for virus neutralising antibodies to border disease virus. Twenty sera (2.9 per cent) were cytotoxic, and only one of the remaining 660 sera gave a positive result. This sample tested negative for classical swine fever by ELISA, and comparative neutralisation studies showed that it had a four.fold higher titre to BVDV I than to border disease virus.

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