Forty-three cattle seronegative to bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1) were given from one to five intradermal injections of BHV-1 inactivated antigen at four-week intervals. This delayed hypersensitivity test was assessed by the increase in skin thickness. The activity of the antigen was assessed in five animals which had a previous natural BHV-1 infection with clinical signs and seroconversion. Anti-BHV-1 antibodies were detected by seroneutralisation and an enzyme-linked immunoassay. Only one animal showed a significant but slight increase in skin thickness after the first test, but it was negative after a second test. The animals remained seronegative after the first test. Seroconversion was identified in 11 of the 43 animals (25 per cent) submitted to repeated delayed hypersensitivity tests. Five of 37 animals seroconverted after only two tests. The serological response was transient in seven of 11 seroconverted calves. Repeated hypersensitivity tests were therefore able to induce a serological response in seronegative calves but the response was weak and often transient. The test must therefore be applied cautiously to seronegative animals.
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