Dynamics of viral spread in bluetongue virus infected calves

Simon M. Barratt-Boyes, Nigel J Maclachlan

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72 Scopus citations


The kinetics of viremia and sites of viral replication in bluetongue virus (BTV) infected calves were characterized by virus isolation, serology and immunofluorescence staining procedures. In addition, the role of the regional lymph node and lymphatics draining inoculated skin in the pathogenesis of BTV infection was determined by analyzing efferent lymph collected from indwelling cannulas. Viremia persisted for 35 to 42 days after inoculation (DAI) and virus co-circulated with neutralizing antibodies for 23 to 26 days. Virus was first isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear (PBM) cells at 3 DAI, after stimulation of PBM cells with interleukin 2 and mitogen. BTV was frequently isolated from erythrocytes, platelets and stimulated PBM cells but never from granulocytes and rarely from plasma during viremia. Virus was consistently isolated from erythrocytes late in the course of veremia. Interruption of efferent lymph flow by cannulation delayed the onset of viremia to 7 DAI. BTV was infrequently isolated from lymph cells, and few fluorescence positive cells were observed after lymph and PBM cells were labelled with a BTV-specific monoclonal antibody. Virus was isolated from spleen by 4 DAI and most tissues by 6 DAI, whereas virus was isolated from bone marrow only at 10 DAI. Virus was not isolated from any tissue after termination of viremia. It is concluded that primary viral replication occurred in the local lymph node and BTV then was transported in low titer to secondary sites of replication via infected lymph and PBM cells. We speculate that virus replication in spleen resulted in release of virus into the circulation and non-selective infection of blood cells which disseminated BTV to other tissues. Virus association with erythrocytes likely was responsible for prolonged viremia, although infected erythrocytes eventually were cleared from the circulation and persistent BTV infection of calves did not occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-371
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1994


  • Bluetongue virus
  • Calves
  • Dynamics
  • Pathogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Microbiology
  • veterinary(all)


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