Detection of bluetongue virus in the blood of inoculated calves: comparison of virus isolation, PCR assay, and in vitro feeding of Culicoides variipennis

Nigel J Maclachlan, R. A. Nunamaker, J. B. Katz, M. M. Sawyer, G. Y. Akita, Bennie Osburn, W. J. Tabachnick

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The interval after infection when bluetongue virus (BTV) was present in the blood of calves inoculated with BTV serotype 10 (BTV 10) was evaluated by virus isolation (VI) in embryonated chicken eggs (ECE), BTV-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and in vitro blood feeding of vector Culicoides variipennis (C.v.) sonorensis. BTV nucleic acid was detected by PCR in blood cells for 16 to 20 weeks after infection whereas infectious virus was detected by VI in ECE for 2 to 8 weeks. BTV was detected in calf blood by in vitro feeding of C.v. sonorensis for only 0 to 2 weeks after inoculation of calves with BTV 10. Selected bloods which were positive by PCR analysis but not by VI in ECE were not infectious for sheep. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that prolonged viremia in BTV-infected cattle results from association of the virus with blood cells, especially erythrocytes. The fact that calf blood that contained viral nucleic acid as determined by PCR analysis, but not infectious virus as determined by VI in ECE, was not infectious for either the insect vector or sheep suggests that cattle whose blood contains BTV nucleic acid but not infectious virus are unimportant to the epidemiology of BTV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Virology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Genetics

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