A comparison of polymerase chain reaction with and without RNA extraction and virus isolation for detection of bovine viral diarrhea virus in young calves


Canadian Food Inspection Agency Lethbridge Laboratory, Animal Diseases Research Institute, Lethbridge, Alberta.

Previously, the authors described a multiplex reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for detection and typing of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) from blood of persistently infected (PI) cattle that could be used with or without RNA extraction. In the present study, the PCR assay was evaluated for its ability to detect BVDV in young calves as a screening tool for detection of persistent infections. Both methods, PCR after RNA extraction (rPCR) and the direct method without RNA extraction (dPCR) were applied and compared with virus isolation (VI) with diagnostic specimens. From 450 whole blood samples from Ontario calves, 47 and 39 samples were positive by rPCR and VI, respectively. From the 47 samples positive by rPCR, 45 (96%) also were positive by dPCR when samples were tested both undiluted and diluted 1:10. In comparison to VI, the relative sensitivities of both PCR assays were 100%. Examination of the results indicates that both PCR assays can be used for screening calves for persistent infection with BVDV.


Deregt D, Carman PS, Clark RM, Burton KM, et al.: J Vet Diagn Invest 14: 433-437, 2002.