Author(s): Lken T, Krogsrud J, Bjerks I
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Abstract Five herds with a total of 276 female goats experienced severe outbreaks of reproductive failure due to a pestivirus-contaminated experimental orf vaccine given early in the breeding season. The reproductive failures comprised barrenness in 42 goats, abortion in 53 and, in 118, the birth of dead or weak kids. The incidence of female goats with such failures was 82 per cent overall, herd incidence rates ranging from 79 to 96 per cent. No progeny showed characteristic signs of border disease (BD). Microscopic lesions in the CNS were moderate, mostly characterized by hypercellularity, cell disorganization and decreased myelin content. Non-cytopathic strains of pestivirus were demonstrated in tissue or serum from two weak-born and two apparently healthy kids. Neutralizing antibodies against a bovine pestivirus were found in all 254 goats examined about 4 months after vaccination. At the end of the breeding season, all kids were removed and 74 young kids were introduced from presumably normal herds. Approximately 8 months later, 64 (86 per cent) of the bought-in kids had pestivirus antibodies. Two years after the outbreaks, such antibodies were found in all but three of 127 vaccinated goats still alive, and another 2 years later, in all 22 vaccinated goats in one of the herds. Sheep also were kept on the same five farms and cattle on one. Sheep in two of the flocks showed reproductive failure probably caused by pestivirus transmitted from infected goat offspring. A pair of twin lambs showed nervous signs and brain lesions characteristic of BD, while 17 other lambs had a very low growth rate. Virus was not isolated from any lamb. The prevalence rates of ewes with pestivirus antibodies in the two affected flocks were 33 and 72 per cent, respectively. One of nine cows aborted a pestivirus-infected foetus, and all were antibody-positive.
This article was published in J Comp Pathol
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