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Cluster of cases of malignant schwannoma in cattle
  1. P. R. Murcia, DVM, MSc, PhD1,
  2. G. Delhon, DVM, MSc, PhD2,
  3. M. J. González, DVM1,
  4. M. Vilas, DVM3,
  5. J. A. Ramos-Vara, DVM, PhD, DECVP4,
  6. M. De Las Heras, DVM, PhD, DECVP5,
  7. R. W. Nordhausen, DVM6 and
  8. F. A. Uzal, DVM, MSc, PhD, DACVP7
  1. 1 Virology Department, School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. 2 Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Nebraska Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, USA
  3. 3 El Oasis 87, 8730 San Martín de los Andes, Provincia del Neuquen, Argentina
  4. 4 Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
  5. 5 Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, Bearsden Road, Bearsden, Glasgow G61 1QH
  6. 6 California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, USA
  7. 7 California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratories, University of California-Davis, San Bernardino, CA, USA
  1. Dr Murcia's present address Cambridge Infectious Diseases Consortium, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ES


Between 1998 and 2001, several cases of ataxia and paresis followed by recumbency and death were reported in cows from different farms in a restricted area of the Argentinian Patagonia. Five cases of this cluster were studied and a diagnosis of malignant schwannoma was established. Electron microscopy (em) of tumour samples from three of the animals revealed intracytoplasmic or interstitial structures resembling retroviral particles. Attempts to isolate a viral agent from the tumours were unsuccessful but the epidemiological data and the em findings suggest a viral aetiology.

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