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Am J Vet Res. 1984 Apr;45(4):643-51.

Effect of combined rotavirus and Escherichia coli in neonatal gnotobiotic calves.


Gnotobiotic calves (24 hours old) were monoinfected with calf rotavirus (CRV) strain NCDV, an enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strain B44 (K99+), or a nonenterotoxigenic E coli (NETEC) strain 123 (K99-). Calves also were dually infected with CRV and either ETEC or NETEC. Eighteen calves equally allotted between 6 treatment groups were used in these studies: Noninfected controls--group A; CRV--group B; ETEC--group C; NETEC--group D; CRV + ETEC--group E; and CRV + NETEC--group F. Severe diarrhea and villous atrophy were observed in calves of treatment groups B, C, E, and F. Mortality was present only in treatment groups C and E as result of ETEC infection. There were no significant differences in the clinical responses or enteric lesions between treatments B and F, although a significant increase in the concentrations of NETEC was demonstrated in calves dually infected with CRV + NETEC (group F) as compared with calves monoinfected with NETEC (group D). Calves inoculated with ETEC (group C) had severe villous atrophy, neutrophilic infiltration of intestinal lumen, and moderate enterocyte necrosis. Calves dually inoculated with CRV + ETEC (group E) had the most extensive and severe lesions, similar to those in group C, plus a pronounced necrotic fibrino-hemorrhagic enteritis. Infection of enterocytes by CRV did not affect in any way the adherence of ETEC to the intestinal mucosa. Dual viral and bacterial infections of the same enterocytes were evident.

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