Evaluation of transmission of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) between persistently infected and naive cattle by the horn fly ( Haematobia irritans).

Identifying reservoirs and transmission routes for bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) are important in developing biosecurity programs. The aim of this study was to evaluate BVDV transmission by the hematophagous horn fly (Haematobia irritans). Flies collected from four persistently infected cattle were placed in fly cages attached to principal (n=4) and control (n=4) BVDV-naïve calves housed individually in isolation rooms. Flies were able to feed on principal calves, but a barrier prevented fly feeding from control calves. Flies were tested for BVDV by RT-PCR and virus isolation at time of collection from PI cattle and after 48 h of exposure on BVDV-naïve calves. Blood samples were collected from calves and tested for BVDV infection. Virus was isolated from fly homogenates at collection from PI animals and at removal from control and principal calves. All calves remained negative for BVDV by virus isolation and serology throughout the study. Bovine viral diarrhea virus may be detected in horn flies collected from PI cattle, but horn flies do not appear to be an important vector for BVDV transmission.

Chamorro, M. F.; Passler, T.; Givens, M. D.; et al.