The objectives of this study were to compare the age distribution of animals persistently infected (PI) with bovine virus diarrhea virus (BVDV) in 12 herds with clinical BVD compared to ten herds without clinical BVD and to examine the incidence of PI calves born after the oldest PI animal. Blood samples from all animals were tested for bovine virus diarrhea virus and antibodies. In five herds, blood samples were obtained from calves born after the whole herd had been tested. All calves born by PI dams were also blood tested. In herds with clinical BVD the median age of PI animals was 248 days and in herds without clinical BVD the median age was 144 days. There was no significant difference between the age of PI animals in herds with clinical BVD compared to herds without clinical BVD (p = 0.48) suggesting similar epidemiology of the occurrences of PI animals in the two herd categories. Thereafter, all herds were used to study the incidence of PI animals. A total of 129 PI animals were found. In ten herds with 72 PI animals the age range of PI animals was more than six months. In these herds 26.3% of the PI animals were born within the first two months after birth of the oldest PI animal, no PI animals were born 2- less than 6 months, 52.7% were born 6- less than 14 months, 6.9% were born 14- less than 22 months and 13.9% (all born by PI dams) were born later than 22 months after the oldest PI animal.The incidence of PI animals was significantly different from non-PI animals (p < 0.001). It is suggested that the infection is introduced initially by a few animals and is then reinforced by birth of PI animals. Therefore, PI animals are often clustered in two separate age groups.
Houe H. Can J Vet Res. 1992 July; 56(3): 194–198.