Eighty-four pairs of acute and convalescent serum samples collected in 1998 and 1999 from 17 outbreaks of respiratory disease, milk drop syndrome or diarrhoea in cattle were tested by haemagglutination inhibition against human influenza viruses A/Eng/333/80 (HiNi) and A/Eng/427/88 (H3N2). Antibodies to these viruses were present in the convalescent sera of 56.5 per cent and 58-8 per cent cattle tested, respectively, with 56 per cent of the animals seroconverting to one or both viruses. Titres were typically higher to A/Eng/427/88 (H3N2). Further testing of a subset of 21 of these serum pairs against the predominant Hi Ni and H3N2 human and porcine strains circulating when the samples were collected revealed that the highest reactivity, in terms of both the magnitude of the recorded titres and the number of positive sera, was to human H3N2 strains. The titres to human HI Ni strains and to both porcine subtypes were low or absent. Attempts to isolate influenza A virus from nasal mucus or swab samples from 142 cattle from 46 cases of respiratory disease and/or milk drop syndrome by passage in embryonated specific pathogen-free eggs were unsuccessful.
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