A bovine respiratory syncytial virus model with high clinical expression in calves with specific passive immunity
Bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) has been recognised as an important pathogen in calf pneumonia for 30 years, but surprisingly few effective infection models for studies of the immune response and the pathogenesis in the natural host have been established. We present a reproducible experimental infection model for BRSV in 2-5-month-old, conventionally reared Jersey calves. Thirty-four colostrum-fed calves were inoculated once by aerosol and intratracheal injection with BRSV. Respiratory disease was recorded in 91% of the BRSV-inoculated calves, 72% had an accompanying rise in rectal temperature and 83% exhibited >5% consolidation of the lung tissue. The disease closely resembled natural outbreaks of BRSV-related pneumonia, and detection of BRSV in nasal secretions and lung tissues confirmed the primary role of BRSV. Nine mock-inoculated control calves failed to develop respiratory disease. This model is a valuable tool for the study of the pathogenesis of BRSV and for vaccine efficacy studies.