alexa Malignant catarrhal fever in a bison (Bison bison) feedlot, 1993-2000.
Microbiology

Microbiology

Clinical Microbiology: Open Access

Author(s): D OToole, H Li, C Sourk, D L Montgomery, T B Crawford

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A fatal enteric syndrome was identified in American bison (Bison bison) at a large feedlot in the American Midwest in early 1998. An estimated 150 bison died of the syndrome between January 1998 and December 1999. The syndrome was identified as malignant catarrhal fever (MCF), primarily the alimentary form. Clinical onset was acute, and most affected bison died within 1-3 days; none recovered. Consistent lesions were hemorrhagic cystitis, ulcerative enterotyphlocolitis, and arteritis-phlebitis. Vasculitis was milder and more localized than that in cattle with MCF, and in contrast to the situation in cattle, lymphadenomegaly was minimal. Virtually all affected bison examined were positive for ovine herpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. A retrospective study of archived tissues established that MCF occurred in the yard as early as 1993. A prospective study was undertaken to establish the importance of MCF relative to other fatal diseases at the feedlot. The fate of a group of 300 healthy male bison in a consignment of 1,101 animals was followed for up to 7 months to slaughter. At entry, 23% (71/300) of bison were seropositive for MCF viruses, and 11% (8/71) of these seropositive bison were PCR positive for OvHV-2. Forty seronegative bison were selected at random from the group, and all were PCR negative for OvHV-2. There was no change in seroprevalence in the group during the investigation. The minimum infection rate for MCF virus was 36.3% (93/256). Twenty-two (7.3%) of the 300 bison in the feedlot died. Of these, 15 had MCF, 4 had acute or chronic pneumonia, and 3 were unexamined. Losses in the entire consignment were higher (98/1,101; 8.8% death loss); 76% of deaths were attributable to MCF. The study failed to reveal a relationship between subclinical infection and development of clinical disease.

This article was published in J Vet Diagn Invest. and referenced in Clinical Microbiology: Open Access

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