bovine herpesvirus 2 infection
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- bovine herpesvirus 2 infection
International Common Names
- English: Allerton disease; bovine herpes mammillitis; bovine herpes mammillitis, pseudo-lumpy skin disease, herpesvirus-2; bovine ulcerative mammillitis; pseudo-lumpy skin disease
Pathogen/sTop of page bovine herpesvirus 2
OverviewTop of page
Bovine herpesvirus 2 (BHV-2) is the causative agent of two diseases. The first is localized in the udder and called bovine herpes mammillitis. The second is a generalized cutaneous form named Allerton disease or pseudo-lumpy skin disease, due to it’s similarity with the capripoxvirus infection causing lumpy skin disease. The localized form is mainly observed in Europe and America whereas the generalized form is common in Africa.
Host AnimalsTop of page
|Animal name||Context||Life stage||System|
|Aepyceros melampus||Wild host|
|Alcelaphus buselaphus||Wild host|
|Antidorcas marsupialis||Wild host|
|Bos indicus (zebu)|
|Bos taurus (cattle)||Domesticated host, Wild host||Cattle & Buffaloes: All Stages|
|Capra hircus (goats)||Domesticated host, Wild host||Sheep & Goats: All Stages|
|Capreolus capreolus||Wild host|
|Connochaetes taurinus||Wild host|
|Giraffa camelopardalis||Wild host|
|Hippotragus equinus||Wild host|
|Hippotragus niger||Wild host|
|Kobus ellipsiprymnus||Wild host|
|Oryx gazella||Wild host|
|Ovis aries (sheep)||Domesticated host, Wild host||Sheep & Goats: All Stages|
|Redunca arundinum||Wild host|
|Rupicapra rupicapra||Domesticated host, Wild host|
|Syncerus caffer||Domesticated host, Wild host||Cattle & Buffaloes: All Stages|
|Tragelaphus oryx||Wild host|
|Tragelaphus scriptus||Wild host|
|Tragelaphus strepsiceros||Wild host|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Cattle and buffalo (Syncerus caffer) are natural hosts of BHV-2. Sheep and goats can be experimentally infected and develop local lesions. BHV-2 neutralizing antibodies have been demonstrated in a wide range of ruminant species, especially in African wildlife (see hosts table). A very low prevalence of seropositive roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) has been observed (Thiry et al., 1988). Even Asian elephants have serological evidence of BHV-2 infection (Metzler et al., 1990). These serological results raise the point of the existence of herpesviruses related to BHV-2 infecting those species.
Systems AffectedTop of page skin and ocular diseases of large ruminants
skin and ocular diseases of small ruminants
DistributionTop of page
BHV-2 infection is distributed worldwide. Pseudo-lumpy skin disease was first diagnosed in South Africa, then in Kenya, the USA and Australia. Bovine herpes mammillitis was observed in Great Britain, Ireland (O’Connor et al., 1994), Bulgaria, Italy, France, Australia, the USA, Canada (Martin et al., 1987), Rwanda and Burundi, Zambia and Brazil (Scott, 1989). Serological evidence of BHV-2 infection was obtained in Belgium (Pastoret et al., 1983), the Netherlands, New Zealand (Horner and Raynel, 1988), South Africa (Barnard, 1997) and Namibia (Scott, 1989; Geiger et al., 1990). Although pseudo-lumpy skin disease is mainly diagnosed in Africa, cases of generalized disease have been reported in Europe (Woods et al., 1996).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Kenya||Present||O'Connor et al., 1994|
|Namibia||Present||Geiger et al., 1990|
|South Africa||Present||Barnard, 1997|
|Canada||Present||Martin et al., 1987|
|USA||Present||Martin et al., 1987|
|Belgium||Present||Pastoret et al., 1983|
|Bulgaria||Present||Martin et al., 1987|
|France||Present||Martin et al., 1987|
|Italy||Present||Martin et al., 1987|
|Netherlands||Present||Horner and Raynel, 1988|
|UK||Present||O'Connor et al., 1994|
|Australia||Present||Martin et al., 1987|
PathologyTop of page
Bovine herpes mammillitis
This disease is usually observed in dairy cows during the second part of the year and usually heifers in 2 to 10 days after calving. It can also be observed in bulls (Letchworth et al., 1982). The infection spreads within three weeks among the herd. The virus is transmitted directly from animal to animal and indirectly by contaminated material. Biting flies could also play a role in virus transmission. The incubation period is 4 to 10 days. The lesions are localized on the teats, and rarely on the udder and perinea. The skin is swollen and translucent and some vesicles may be visible. The lesions appear blue or purple. They evolve as ulcers and resolve without complications within 4 weeks. Suckling calves may become affected, showing the same lesions on the lips, the nose and in the mouth (Gourreau and Pauluzzi, 1988; Gourreau et al., 1989; Scott, 1989).
Pseudo-lumpy skin disease
Pseudo-lumpy skin disease is a generalized and febrile disease. Circumscribed nodules suddenly appear on the skin of the whole body. These nodules are hard, palpable and circular. A slight depression is visible in their centre. After a few days, necrosis follows, the nodules evolve as ulcers and are covered by scabs. After 2 weeks, the lesions are resolved but leave areas provisionally devoid of hair (Gourreau and Pauluzzi, 1988; Scott, 1989).
DiagnosisTop of page
Bovine herpes mammillitis is suspected when the characteristic lesions appear on the teats, especially in late summer and early winter. The disease must be differentiated from pseudo-cowpox. Pseudo-lumpy skin disease produces lesions very close to these induced by lumpy skin disease. However, the slight depression observed in the centre of the nodules is characteristic of pseudo-lumpy skin disease (Scott, 1989).
The virus can be isolated from the lesions, especially from vesicles when they are present. The virus grows in most bovine cell lines, such as bovine embryonic kidney or testicle cells (Scott, 1989). Serological diagnosis is achieved by seroneutralization. Alternatively an ELISA can be performed for the detection of specific BHV-2 antibodies (Bushnell and Edwards, 1988).
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Digestive Signs / Oral mucosal ulcers, vesicles, plaques, pustules, erosions, tears||Sign|
|General Signs / Cyanosis, blue skin or membranes||Sign|
|General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia||Sign|
|General Signs / Mammary gland swelling, mass, hypertrophy udder, gynecomastia||Sign|
|General Signs / Swelling skin or subcutaneous, mass, lump, nodule||Sign|
|Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain mammary gland, udder||Sign|
|Pain / Discomfort Signs / Skin pain||Sign|
|Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production||Sign|
|Reproductive Signs / Edema of mammary gland, udder||Sign|
|Reproductive Signs / Slough of mammary gland, udder||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin crusts, scabs||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin edema||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin erythema, inflammation, redness||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin necrosis, sloughing, gangrene||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin papules||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin plaque||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin pustules||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin scales, flakes, peeling||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin ulcer, erosion, excoriation||Sign|
|Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin vesicles, bullae, blisters||Sign|
Disease CourseTop of page
BHV-2 primary infection is silent and enters through a skin lesion to reach the dermis. A short viraemia may occur. The virus establishes a latent infection in neurones and probably the skin (Martin and Scott, 1979). Dexamethasone treatment experimentally re-activates latent BHV-2. The virus is thermosensitive and replicates at a temperature lower than body temperature. This feature could provide an explanation for teat lesions during the cold season.
Impact: EconomicTop of page
Although BHV-2 infection can reduce milk production in dairy herds, and pseudo-lumpy skin disease-affected skin has no commercial value (Scott, 1989), the infection does not have significant regional or national impact.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Control is only performed during BHV-2 outbreaks, no preventative controls are used. Affected cows should be isolated from the herd and milked separately. The milking machine should be disinfected with iodophores, and insecticides should be used to eliminate biting flies (Scott, 1989).
ReferencesTop of page
Borchers K et al., 1990. Conserved epitopes of simian herpesvirus SA8 and bovine herpesvirus type 2. Archives of Virology, 111(1-2):1-14.
Bushnell SE; Edwards S, 1988. The development and standardization of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of antibodies to bovine herpesvirus 2. Journal of Biological Standardization, 16(1):45-53.
Castrucci G et al., 1981. A study in calves of an immunologic relationship between Herpes simplex virus and Bovid herpesvirus 2. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 4(1):1-7.
Conraths F et al., 1987. Conserved antigenic and functional domains on glycoprotein B of herpes simplex virus 1 and bovine herpesvirus 2. Archives of Virology, 96(3-4):309-318.
Conraths FJ; Pauli G; Ludwig H, 1988. Monoclonal antibodies directed against a 130K glycoprotein of bovine herpesvirus 2 cross-react with glycoprotein B of herpes simplex virus. Virus Research, 10(1):53-64.
Ehlers B et al., 1999. Bovine herpesvirus type 2 is closely related to the Primate alphaherpesviruses. Virus Genes, 19(3):197-203.
Geiger R; Munz E; Hübschle OJB; Reimann M, 1990. Seroepizootiological studies on the distribution of bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV1) and bovine herpesvirus 2 (BHV2) in Namibia. Journal of Veterinary Medicine. Series B, 37(3):197-202; 12 ref.
Hammerschmidt W et al., 1988. Conservation of a gene cluster including glycoprotein B in bovine herpesvirus type 2 (BHV-2) and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Virology, 165(2):388-405.
Hammerschmidt W, 1988. Common epitopes of glycoprotein B map within the major DNA-binding proteins of bovine herpesvirus type 2 (BHV-2) and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Virology, 165(2):406-418.
Letchworth GJ; Carmichael LE, 1982. Bovid herpesvirus 2 latency: failure to recover virus from central sensory nerve ganglia. Canadian Journal of Comparative Medicine, 46(1):76-79.
Letchworth GJ; Carmichael LE; Lein DH, 1982. Bovid herpesvirus 2: natural spread among breeding bulls. Cornell Veterinarian, 72(2):200-210.
Martin WB; Scott FMM, 1979. Archives of Virology 60:51-58.
Metzler AE; Ossent P; Guscetti F; Rubel A; Lang EM, 1990. Serological evidence of herpesvirus infection in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 26(1):41-49.
Pastoret PP et al., 1983. Serological survey of bovine mammillitis herpesvirus (bovine herpesvirus 2, BHV 2) infection in Belgium. Annales de Médecine Vétérinaire, 127: 4, 267-270.
Scott FMM, 1989. Bovine herpesvirus 2 infections. In: Wittmann G, ed. Herpesvirus Diseases of Cattle, Horse and Pigs. Massachusetts, USA:Kluwer Academic Publishers, 73-95.
Thiry E et al., 1988. Serological survey of herpesvirus infections in wild ruminants of France and Belgium. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 24(2):268-273.
Woods JA; Herring JA; Nettleton PF; Kreuger N; Scott FMM; Reid HW, 1996. Isolation of bovine herpesvirus-2 (BHV-2) from a case of pseudo-lumpy skin disease in the United Kingdom. Veterinary Record, 138(5):113-114; 12 ref.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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