Airborne transmission of BHV1, BRSV, and BVDV among cattle is possible under experimental conditions

Mars, M.H.; Bruschke, C.J.M.; Oirschot, J.T. van


To control the diseases caused by bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV1), bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), and bovine virus diarrhoea virus (BVDV), it is crucial to know their modes of transmission. The purpose of this study was to determine whether these viruses can be transmitted by air to a substantial extent. Calves were housed in two separate isolation stables in which a unidirectional airflow was maintained through a tube in the wall. In one stable, three of the five calves were experimentally infected with BHV1 and later with BRSV. In the BVDV experiment, two calves persistently infected with BVDV (PI-calves) instead of experimentally infected calves, were used as the source of the virus. In all the calves infections were monitored using virus and antibody detection. Results showed that all the three viruses were transmitted by air. BHV1 spread to sentinel calves in the adjacent stable within three days, and BRSV within nine days, and BVDV spread to sentinel calves probably within one week. Although airborne transmission is possibly not the main route of transmission, these findings will have consequences for disease prevention and regulations in control programmes. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.