Microbial diversity involved in the etiology of a bovine respiratory disease outbreak in a dairy calf rearing unit.


The etiological agents involved in a bovine respiratory disease (BRD) outbreak were investigated in a dairy heifer calf rearing unit from southern Brazil. A battery of PCR assays was performed to detect the most common viruses and bacteria associated with BRD, such as bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), bovine alphaherpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1), bovine coronavirus (BCoV), bovine parainfluenza virus 3 (BPIV-3), Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, Histophilus somni, and Mycoplasma bovis. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) samples were taken from 21 heifer calves (symptomatic n = 15; asymptomatic n = 6) that, during the occurrence of the BDR outbreak, were aged between 6 and 90 days. At least one microorganism was detected in 85.7 % (18/21) of the BALF samples. Mixed infections were more frequent (72.2 %) than single infections (27.7 %). The interactions between viruses and bacteria were the most common in coinfections (55.5 %). The frequencies of BRD agents were 38.1 % for BRSV, 28.6 % for BVDV, 33.3 % for BCoV, 42.85 % for P. multocida, 33.3 % for M. bovis, and 19 % for H. somni. BoHV-1, BPIV-3, and M. haemolytica were not identified in any of the 21 BALF samples. Considering that BALF and not nasal swabs were analyzed, these results demonstrate the etiological multiplicity that may be involved in BRD outbreaks in dairy calves.

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