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Comparison of blood non-specific immune parameters in Bovine virus diarrhoea virus (BVDV) persistently infected and in immune heifers.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Patologia Animale, Igiene e Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria, Sezione di Malattie Infettive, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 10, 20133 Milano, Italy.

Erratum in

  • J Vet Med B Infect Dis Vet Public Health. 2006 Jun;53(5):250. Frigerio, V [removed]; Daprà, V [added].


Several data from different authors show that Bovine virus diarrhoea virus (BVDV) could be a key component in multiple-etiology diseases, indeed a lower leukocytes number and their impaired functions decrease the resistance to infections. However, most of the information on the impairment of immune function during BVDV infections arise from circumstantial evidence and from experimental infection studies, and few from field data. To assess the effects of BVDV on blood cells parameters, cellular and humoral functions under field conditions, we designed a controlled study in commercial dairy herds, comparing persistent infected (PI) and healthy heifers. A total of 45 heifers were considered, the PI animals were nine, the control animals were 34, while two controls were considered as acute infected animals. The comparison of the mean values in PI calves showed a significant decrease for leukocytes and granulocytes, while platelets showed a significant increase, when compared with control animals. The total number of lymphocytes decreased not significantly in PI animals, while the proportion significantly increased. The number and proportion of monocytes was significantly reduced in PI animals, when compared with controls. The data collected on markers of cellular immunity during our study cannot be compared with the literature because there are no reference values. The presence of a persistent infection affected the cellular enzymes: NAGase, lysozyme and respiratory burst showed a large statistically significant decrease in PI animals when compared with controls. The presence of a persistent infection with BVD virus influenced blood cells number and impaired some blood cell functions. Such impairment confirms that PI animals represent a threat to the herd not only because they could spread BVDV, but also because they are more susceptible to other infectious diseases.

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