Role of bovine herpesvirus 4 in bacterial bovine mastitis

D. Kálmán, Sz Jánosi, L. Egyed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


In order to study the role played by bovine herpesvirus 4 (BoHV-4) in bovine mastitis, PCR experiments were performed on a Hungarian dairy herd of 2000 cows. Milk cells were tested with a nested PCR adjusted to detect the virus in the milk. Thirty to forty-one percentage of the udders of 101 cows with bacterial mastitis (Escherichia coli, Streptococcus uberis or Staphylococcus aureus) gave positive results, whereas less than 6% of the milk samples were positive for BoHV-4 from 118 animals with healthy udders. The mastitis status of these 118 healthy cows was followed throughout the milking period; 4.2% had clinical, and 25.42% had subclinical mastitis. By the end of the milking period, more than 90% of the cows shed the virus in their milk, regardless of the bacterial status of the udder. No correlation was found between the virus shed, the somatic cell count, and the bacterial status of the udder. Viral DNA was detected in the wall of the milk duct. These results demonstrate that BoHV-4 neither causes mastitis directly nor plays a role in the initiation of the process, but later, when bacterial infection of the udder occurs, the reactivated virus replicates in the immune cells of the udder and/or in the epithelial cells of the milk ducts and may be responsible for more severe, prolonged mastitis. As mastitis is a crucial problem of milk production, this virus may be considered a possible predisposing factor and also an agent of secondary udder infections in prolonged mastitis cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-129
Number of pages5
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2004


  • Bovine herpesvirus 4
  • Mastitis
  • Nested PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases

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