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Vet Microbiol. 1990 Apr;22(2-3):187-201.

A longitudinal study of bovine coronavirus enteric and respiratory infections in dairy calves in two herds in Ohio.

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Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State University, Wooster 44691.


This prospective longitudinal study examined the epidemiology and disease syndrome associated with bovine coronavirus (BCV) infections in a cohort of 8 conventional calves from 0 to 120 days of age, in two dairy herds in Ohio. The periods of respiratory shedding of BCV were determined by direct immunofluorescent (DIF) staining of nasal epithelial cells and ELISA of nasal swab supernatant fluids. The periods of fecal shedding of BCV were determined by ELISA and immunoelectron microscopy (IEM). The isotype-specific antibody titers to BCV in serum (at selected intervals between 0 and 120 days of age) and the post-suckling (24 to 48 h after birth) total immunoglobulin levels were examined by ELISA and zinc sulfate turbidity tests, respectively. Of the 8 calves studied, 4 had evidence of BCV respiratory (by DIF or ELISA) or enteric infections (by IEM or ELISA) in association with diarrhea or rhinitis, even though 7 of 8 calves showed increases in one or more serum antibody isotypes to BCV and 6 of 8 calves showed BCV respiratory or enteric antigen shedding by ELISA. Serological antibody titer increases occurred in 3 calves before 30 days of age and in 4 calves after 30 days of age; two of the latter calves had a second rise in serum antibody titers to BCV after the initial rise. A serological antibody titer increase was not observed in one calf. This suggests that BCV infections may be very common in a closed herd and may occur in older calves, although many may be subclinical and some may be recurrent. There were no statistically significant correlations between total serum immunoglobulin levels or BCV antibody isotype titers in serum (24-48 h after birth) and clinical disease or infection by BCV; however, calves with low levels of IgA BCV antibodies in serum (24-48 h after birth) had a significantly greater average number of days with diarrhea than those calves having high levels of IgA BCV-specific antibodies in serum.

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