Serological Monitoring of Vesicular Stomatitis New Jersey Virus in Enzootic Regions of Costa Rica

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  • Tropical Disease Research Program (PIET), School of Veterinary Medicine, National University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Heredia, Costa Rica
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The activity of vesicular stomatitis viruses was monitored on 3 dairy farms in Costa Rica. Antibody levels were measured and clinical disease monitored in 165 cattle during a 20 month period (1986–1988). Vesicular stomatitis New Jersey (VS NJ) virus was shown to be enzootic on these farms by a 94.2% prevalence of neutralizing antibody; this did not vary significantly between herds. The mean prevalence of antibody to vesicular stomatitis Indiana (VS IN) virus was 15.2%, but was significantly higher in 1 herd. A total of 25 cases (annual incidence rate of 9%) of clinical vesicular stomatitis (VS) was reported. VS NJ virus was identified as the causal agent by detection of VS NJ virus antigens by the complement fixation test. VS NJ virus was isolated in 11 cases. All episodes of disease occurred between November and January, the beginning of the dry season. Most animals maintained stable neutralizing antibody titers throughout the study, and all diseased animals were previously seropositive to VS NJ virus. A total of 31 animals with neutralizing antibodies to VS NJ virus had a VS NJ virus-specific IgM response, and 6 animals had IgM responses that persisted for as long as 6 months. There was no relation between IgM responses and clinical disease occurrence. VS NJ virus persisted predominately as a sub-clinical infection in cattle throughout the year in enzootic areas of Costa Rica. The humoral response did not prevent reinfection with VS NJ virus.

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