Eighty crossbred beef heifers were randomly allocated to four groups to evaluate the efficacy of vaccination in preventing development of calves persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). Group 1 (n = 11) was non-vaccinated controls, whereas three groups were vaccinated with commercially available multivalent BVDV vaccines at weaning (∼7 mo of age), 28 d post-weaning, ∼1 y of age, and 28 d later. Groups 2 (n = 23) and 3 (n = 23) were given a modified-live BVDV vaccine, whereas Group 4 was given an inactivated BVDV vaccine. Heifers were bred by AI and subsequently exposed to two bulls. At 61 d after AI, 70 heifers were pregnant (n = 10 for Group 1 and n = 20/group for Groups 2, 3, and 4). Three cattle persistently infected with BVDV were commingled with the pregnant heifers (in an isolated pasture) from 68 to 126 d after AI. Thereafter, viremias were detected in pregnant heifers from Groups 1, 3, and 4 (10/10, 1/20, and 10/20, respectively), but not in pregnant heifers from Group 2 (0/20). Resulting calves were assessed for persistent infection using serum PCR, ear notch antigen capture-ELISA, and immunohistochemistry. Persistently infected calves were only produced in Group 1 (10/10) and Group 4 (2/18). In conclusion, commercial vaccines provided effective fetal protection despite prolonged natural exposure to BVDV. Given that viremias were detected in 11 vaccinated heifers after BVDV exposure, and two vaccinated heifers gave birth to persistently infected calves, there is continued need for biosecurity and diagnostic surveillance, in addition to vaccination, to ensure effective BVDV control.
Rodning, S. P.; Marley, M. S. D.; Zhang, Y. J.; et al.