Following the first ever case of bluetongue in Denmark during late 2007, further outbreaks were observed in Denmark during 2008, despite vaccination against bluetongue virus (BTV) serotype 8 (BTV-8) in the southern part of the country. In total, 15 separate outbreaks of infection were identified, mostly as a result of clinical suspicions but also because of surveillance of bulk milk samples. These outbreaks led to extensions of the original vaccination zone planned for 2008. Blood samples from clinical suspects were analysed using ELISA and real-time RT-PCR assays for the presence of anti-BTV antibodies and viral RNA, respectively. A newly infected calf from the primary outbreak in 2008 was studied for a period of three months, during which time it seroconverted to BTV, but the presence of viral RNA in its blood was maintained throughout this time. Each outbreak was caused by BTV-8, as determined by a serotype-specific real-time RT-PCR assay. Furthermore, the nucleotide sequence of a portion of segment 2 of the viral RNA (encoding the outer capsid protein VP2) from the samples analysed was identical to the BTV-8 segment 2 that circulated in the Netherlands during 2006.
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