Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) virus infection was detected by an antibody ELISA in the bulk milk of a large closed dairy herd of high health status in an area of low cattle density in East Anglia. The herd was managed under high standards of biosecurity and was known to have been serologically free of IBR virus for the previous 13 years. Although over 70 per cent of the cows had seroconverted to IBR virus no clinical signs were observed apart from a slight bilateral watery ocular discharge in a few cows, and their performance and productivity were unaffected. The causal virus, which was isolated after it had been reactivated with corticosteroid, had the DNA profile of a bovine herpesvirus type 1 strain normally associated with clinically severe respiratory disease. In spite of extensive enquiries and seroepidemiological investigations the source of the infection was not determined.
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