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Arch Virol. 1975;47(1):71-83.

Serologic evidence for etiologic role of Akabane virus in epizootic abortion-arthrogryposis-hydranencephaly in cattle in Japan, 1972-1974.


In the outbreak of abortions, premature births, stillbirths and congenital arthrogryposis-hydranencephaly (AH) syndrome in Japan during the summer through winter of 1972-73 and 1973-74, precolostral sera from calves with congenital AH syndrome and normal calves were tested for neutralizing antibodies against some arboviruses, i.e. Akabane, Aino, Getah and Japanese encephalitis (JE) viruses. The incidence of antibody for Akabane virus was very high in calves with AH syndrome (49/59 or 83 per cent) as compared with normal calves (3/11 or 27 per cent), indicating an intimate correlation between the AH syndrome and precolostral anti-Akabane antibody. Three stillborn fetuses also had anti-Akabane antibody. On the other hand, no precolostral serum antibody for the other viruses was detected in any of the calves tested. The mothers of these calves, normal and with AH syndrome, had anti-Akabane antibody in high percentages (44/52 or 85 per cent and 7/8 or 88 per cent), whereas a few of the mothers had antibodies for the other viruses. Serological surveys indicate a wide dissemination of Akabane virus in epizootic areas during the summer months of 1972 and 1973. Thus, 8 groups of cattle in epizootic areas showed high rates of seroconversion for Akabane virus during the 1972 or 1973 summer. Very high incidences of Akabane antibody were shown among cattle in epizootic areas but extremely low incidences in near-by non-epizootic areas. The geographic distribution of anti-Akabane antibody among cattle throughout the country in the 1973 spring generally agrees with the pattern of case distribution in the 1972--73 outbreak. All these findings strongly suggest that Akabane virus is the etiological agent of the outbreaks. Further studies are needed, particularly isolation of the virus, demonstration of infection with the virus in lesions by immunofluroescence and production of intrauterine infection by experimental infection of pregnant cows.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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