Bovine viral diarrhea virus fetal persistent infection after immunization with a contaminated modified-live virus vaccine

Roberto A. Palomares, Shonda M. Marley, M. Daniel Givens, Rodrigo A Gallardo, Kenny V. Brock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The objective was to determine whether a multivalent modified-live virus vaccine containing noncytopathic bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) administered off-label to pregnant cattle can result in persistently infected fetuses and to assess whether vaccinal strains can be shed to unvaccinated pregnant cattle commingling with vaccinates. Nineteen BVDV-naïve pregnant heifers were randomly assigned to two groups: cattle vaccinated near Day 77 of gestation with modified-live virus vaccine containing BVDV-1a (WRL strain), bovine herpes virus-1, parainfluenza 3, and bovine respiratory syncytial virus (Vx group; N = 10) or control unvaccinated cattle (N = 9). During the course of the study a voluntary stop-sale/recall was conducted by the manufacturer because of the presence of a BVDV contaminant in the vaccine. At Day 175 of gestation, fetuses were removed by Cesarean section and fetal tissues were submitted for virus isolation, and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction using BVDV-1- and BVDV-2-specific probes. Nucleotide sequencing of viral RNA was performed for quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction-positive samples. Two vaccinated and two control heifers aborted their pregnancies, but their fetuses were unavailable for BVDV testing. Virus was isolated from all eight fetuses in the Vx group heifers and from 2 of 7 fetuses in the control unvaccinated heifers. Only BVDV-2 was detected in fetuses from the Vx group, and only BVDV-1 was detected in the two fetuses from the control group. Both BVDV-1 and BVDV-2 were detected in the vaccine. In conclusion, vaccination of pregnant heifers with a contaminated modified-live BVDV vaccine resulted in development of BVDV-2 persistently infected fetuses in all tested vaccinated animals. Furthermore, BVDV was apparently shed to unvaccinated heifers causing fetal infections from which only BVDV-1 was detected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1184-1195
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Bovine viral diarrhea virus
  • BVDV-1
  • BVDV-2
  • Modified-live virus vaccine
  • Persistent infection
  • Vaccine contamination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine
  • Food Animals
  • Small Animals


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