Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


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Passler et al.: Experimental infection of pregnant goats with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) 1 or 2. Veterinary Research 2014 45:38.



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Infections with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) of the genus pestivirus, family Flaviviridae, are not limited to cattle but occur in various artiodactyls. Persistently infected (PI) cattle are the main source of BVDV. Persistent infections also occur in heterologous hosts such as sheep and deer. BVDV infections of goats commonly result in reproductive disease, but viable PI goats are rare. Using 2 BVDV isolates, previously demonstrated to cause PI cattle and white-tailed deer, this study evaluated the outcome of experimental infection of pregnant goats. Pregnant goats (5 goats/group) were intranasally inoculated with BVDV 1b AU526 (group 1) or BVDV 2 PA131 (group 2) at approximately 25–35 days of gestation. The outcome of infection varied considerably between groups. In group 1, only 3 does became viremic, and 1 doe gave birth to a stillborn fetus and a viable PI kid, which appeared healthy and shed BVDV continuously. In group 2, all does became viremic, 4/5 does aborted, and 1 doe gave birth to a non-viable PI kid. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated BVDV antigen in tissues of evaluated fetuses, with similar distribution but reduced intensity as compared to cattle. The genetic sequence of inoculated viruses was compared to those from PI kids and their dam. Most nucleotide changes in group 1 were present during the dam’s acute infection. In group 2, a similar number of mutations resulted from fetal infection as from maternal acute infection. Results demonstrated that BVDV may cause reproductive disease but may also be maintained in goats.