Transmission of caprine arthritis encephalitis virus to sheep

Transmission of caprine arthritis encephalitis virus to sheep
Peer reviewed


Caprine arthritis-encephalitis (CAE), a slow viral disease of goats, was recently diagnosed in New Zealand. Several dairy goats imported from Australia were shown to be affected with CAE. The causative agent, CAE virus, was isolated from one goat with diffuse mterstitial pneumonia. The retroviruses causing CAE in goats and visna/maedi (V/M) in sheep are known to be closely related. It has been shown that sheep can be infected experimentally with CAE virus. Since CAE and VM viruses are transmitted in colostrum and milk, this study was undertaken to determine whether CAE virus could be transmitted to lambs by feeding milk from CAE virus-infected goats. Six 3-day-old lambs were reared on milk from CAE virus infected goats. The milk was generally fed fresh although, on occasions, this was supplemented with milk that had been collected previously and stored frozen at -20°C. Lambs were fed twice daily for three months, each lamb initially receiving 1.2 litres of milk per day, increasing later to 2.4 litres per day. At intervals of one to two months, serum samples were collected for testing for CAE virus antibody by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay…

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