Search Our Site...


Malignant catarrhal fever confirmed in Louisiana cow

April 18, 2008

The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) said two cases of malignant catarrhal fever (wildebeest strain) were confirmed in a Texas herd of heifers, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said today.    

“There is no risk to the public or cattle industry,” Strain said. “I want to stress there is no threat to the food chain or public health and anticipate no further action will be needed.”

Strain said the cattle herd in question was exposed to a group of wildebeests at a Texas ranch. The 134 animals were subsequently sold and later traced to farms and ranches in six states.

Malignant catarrhal fever in cattle is brought on by exposure to the
alcelaphine herpesvirus (AIHV-1). Wildebeests are carriers of the virus but do not display signs of the disease.

A heifer exposed to the wildebeests traced to Louisiana died, prompting a necropsy to determine cause of death. Further tests are being performed on the heifer tissue at the NVSL and results are pending.

State Veterinarian Henry Moreau said the Louisiana farm where the heifer died has been placed under temporary quarantine.

“Transfer of this disease from cattle to cattle is very rare,” Moreau said. “In consideration of these facts, it is my opinion that Louisiana cattle are not at any risk of contracting this disease.”

The disease is spread by wildebeests infected with the AIHV-1 to cattle. It is rarely transferred from cow to cow, Moreau said.

For more information, call your local veterinarian or visit