Field Observations and Genetic Characterization of Sheep-Associated Malignant Catarrhal Fever in Egypt, 2018
Ovine gammaherpesvirus-2 (OvHV-2) causes a lethal disease in cattle and some wild ruminants called malignant catarrhal fever (MCF), which affects the epithelial and lymphoid tissues of the respiratory and digestive tracts and has an important impact on the livestock industry. In this study, MCF was diagnosed in 18 of 427 cattle from different sites in Egypt by its typical clinical signs, found in all 18 animals: corneal opacity, fever, erosions in the buccal cavity, lymphadenitis, and purulent nasal discharge. All affected cattle had been reared in contact with clinically inconspicuous sheep. Of the 18 clinically ill cattle, 13 succumbed to the disease, resulting in estimated morbidity and case fatality rates of 4.2% and 72.2%, respectively. Five samples collected from the affected cattle were positive for OvHV-2 by real-time PCR and were used for sequencing of an 832-bp fragment of the ORF27/gp48 gene. The ORF27 nucleotide sequence of all Egyptian samples was identical, but distinct from viruses found in other parts of Africa and the Mediterranean.
Abd El Rahman