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Malignant Catarrhal Fever Investigation Dr. Leonard E. Eldridge State Veterinarian Dr. Paul Kohrs Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Jerry Pospisil Field Veterinarian WSDA Topics for today In-state movement WSDA’s role in disease outbreaks Pathogenic strains and their hosts

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Malignant Catarrhal Fever Investigation

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malignant catarrhal fever investigation

Malignant Catarrhal Fever Investigation

Dr. Leonard E. Eldridge

State Veterinarian

Dr. Paul Kohrs

Assistant State Veterinarian

Dr. Jerry Pospisil

Field Veterinarian


topics for today
Topics for today
  • In-state movement
  • WSDA’s role in disease outbreaks
  • Pathogenic strains and their hosts
  • MCF characteristics
  • Timeline of Puyallup cases
  • What we know so far
  • Prevention or mitigation of risk
duties of state veterinarian
Duties of State Veterinarian
  • Set protective requirements for animals entering the state
  • Investigate reports of animals not meeting state requirements
  • Investigate and trace reports of exposed and sick animals
  • Identify, control, and eliminate select animal diseases
    • Includes zoonotic diseases (animal diseases that spread to humans)
field veterinarian regions







San Juan

VET Region 1

Dr. Jeff Howlett


VET Region 4

Dr. Ben Smith












Grays Harbor


VET Region 2

Dr. Jerry Pospisil











VET Region 3

Dr. Peter Tran





Walla Walla





Field Veterinarian Regions
animal health requirements
Animal Health Requirements
  • Importation into state
    • Entry permit
    • Certificate of veterinary inspection
    • Female cattle vaccinated for brucellosis
    • Negative test for brucellosis on all cattle where there is risk
    • Negative test for tuberculosis
    • Negative Trichomoniasis test or virgin bull statement
    • Official individual animal identification
    • Canada
      • CAN brand
    • Mexico
      • M brand
  • Movement within the state
wsda s role in disease outbreaks
WSDA’S Role in Disease Outbreaks
  • Respond to private practitioner concerns
    • Any vesicular disease should be reported
    • Other possible FAD’s should be reported
  • Respond within 4 hours with FADD
  • Either facilitate sample collection and submission or personally collect and send samples
  • Place movement restrictions on animals if deemed appropriate
  • Rule out FAD with confirmation of lab results
  • Non-FAD or program disease will be turned over to private practitioner
role of the animal health official during a disease outbreak
Role of the Animal Health OfficialDuring a Disease Outbreak
  • Stop Disease Spread
    • Quarantine and Movement Restrictions
  • Trace Infected and Exposed Animals
    • Trace In: All animals entering infected premises
    • Trace Out: All animals leaving infected premises
  • Implement Disease Control Measures
    • Humane euthanasia and disposal
    • Cleaning and disinfection
    • Animal disease inspection and investigation

ALL Require Livestock Traceability

impact of losing disease free status
$ Impact of Losing “Disease-Free” status
  • Loss of Free Status for TB or Brucellosis cost:
    • 10 cents per pound ($50 on 500-pound calf)
    • $8 to $10 per head (each time cattle are tested)
    • $5 to $55 million (in added costs to state)
    • Indemnity value may be lower than animal is worth
transporting cattle within wa state
Transporting cattle within WA State
  • Proof of ownership documents are required while transporting cattle on public highways.
      • Brand Inspection Certificate
      • Public Livestock Market (PLM) – “out slip”
        • Buyers are issued an “out slip” for cattle purchased from a livestock market or special sale
    • Certificate of Permit - “haul slip” is your permit for transporting cattle on public highways

Brand Inspections are also required when cattle leave Washington State

  • MCF in wildebeests in Africa for centuries
  • U.S. cattle since 1920’s
  • First bison case in South Dakota reported in 1973
  • Cases occur worldwide each year
  • 2002: New Jersey exotic theme park
    • AHV-1 diagnosed in Ankoli cattle
  • May 2008 outbreak in Texas
malignant catarrhal fever mcf
Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF)

Virus Characteristics

  • Herpes virus
  • 10 identified strains- 5 strains have been identified as causing disease
  • Highly adaptive to the carrier host

(they seldom, if ever, show signs of the disease)

  • Grows very poorly in cell cultures
    • Cannot make vaccine
    • Makes typing the virus difficult
  • DNA virus, so the virus is quite stable against mutation
  • Affects even-toed ungulates
geographic distribution
Geographic Distribution
  • AHV-1 primarily in Africa
    • Carried by wildebeest, hartebeest, topi
    • Also in zoologic and wild animal parks
  • OHV-2 worldwide
    • Carried by domestic and wild sheep and goats
geographic distribution13
Geographic Distribution
  • Positive bison have been found in North America (11 states and Canada)
    • Bison very susceptible
      • Idaho outbreak
      • Spokane outbreak
        • Lost 12/50 animals
        • Used TSV2 with some effect??
        • Neighbor ½ mile downwind also lost 2 (cattle) animals consistent with MCF
  • Often misdiagnosed in bison
  • Nose-to-nose contact with sheep is the most efficient method of spread
  • Fomite transmission is well documented
  • Adolescent age lambs shed higher numbers of the virus
  • Seems to peak in late summer or fall when a majority of the lamb crop is 6-9 months old
incubation period
Incubation period
  • Average 40-60 days
  • The virus may become latent in infected animals and the disease may appear as long as 20 months later
  • The virus is not very stable outside the host and will only live a few hours without moisture and organic matter
human transmission
Human Transmission
  • MCF has not been documented as causing disease in humans
  • Caution at lambing time
    • Equipment used could spread infection to susceptible animals
  • Virus quickly inactivated by sunlight
    • Minimizes risk of fomite spread
mcf characteristics
MCF Characteristics
  • Cattle are “dead end” hosts for the Ovine strain.
    • No documented spread from infected cattle to other cattle
  • High mortality in symptomatic cases.
  • Low morbidity - typically very few animals become symptomatic

Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC)

Photo by Fakri Fatima Zohra, WikiMedia

head and eye form early stages
Head and Eye Form- Early stages
  • Reddened eyelids
  • Bilateral corneal opacity
  • Crusty muzzle, nares
  • Nasal discharge
  • Salivation
head and eye form later stages
Head and Eye Form- Later stages
  • Erosions on the tongue
  • Erosions on the buccal mucosa
differential diagnosis
BVD mucosal disease




Vesicular stomatitis

Physical injury


Pneumonia complex

Oral exposure to caustic materials


Poisonous plants

Differential Diagnosis
  • Survival is rare
  • Mortality on clinical animals reaches 100%
  • Supportive therapy, antibiotics for secondary bacterial infection
mcf outbreak at puyallup fair
MCF Outbreak at Puyallup Fair
  • Animals were housed in the same barn for the last 5 days of the fair (Sept 17-21)
  • 133 cattle in the barn (FFA, open class and display cows)
  • Considerable concern regarding the “animals of the world display” (most were susceptible species)
  • November 3rd - 43 days after the last day of the fair- the first case occurred in Lynden, WA. The animal died on Nov 6th and was necropsied and samples were submitted to WADDL
  • Diagnosis of MCF confirmed on Nov 10th.
  • Reported to State Veterinarian’s office Nov 11th
  • An animal in Arlington, WA that had been at the fair died and was sampled Nov. 11th and confirmed MCF positive on Nov. 14th.
  • First meeting with Fair Officials on Nov. 14th.
  • The next week (17th-21 of Nov)
    • Second and third animals at Arlington died
    • Another display cow housed with the first unconfirmed case earlier was confirmed positive
    • Calf from the positive cow in Elma died and was confirmed positive
    • More positive cases at the index farm in Lynden (total of five with 4 confirmed)
    • Another display cow from Sequim is confirmed as well
  • Negative to Foreign Animal Disease on Nov. 19th.
  • Meeting with Fair Officials on Nov. 19th
  • That weekend (Nov 22-23), more cases were reported in Fife, Elma and ‘display cows’ were reported dying with MCF symptoms in Lynden and Yelm. Though not confirmed, these cases were highly suspicious.
  • The veterinarians that examined the animals became very good at recognizing positive cases.
  • Week of Nov 24-28
    • 2 display animals showed MCF symptoms located in Buckley. One animal died and confirmed MCF, second animal recovered - not MCF.
    • One animal from the Napavine area died showing MCF symptoms, later confirmed MCF.
    • A sixth animal at the index farm in Lynden died on Monday Dec 1st confirmed MCF.
  • Animal reported dead with MCF symptoms on December 6th from Castle Rock- not confirmed.
  • Second animal from Castle Rock farm died on December 28th and confirmed positive.
  • Animal in Olalla showed symptoms for nearly 30 days before dying on January 4th, confirmed positive.
  • Update Case numbers
    • 19 confirmed MCF
    • 5 probable suspicious deaths
  • Last reported case Feb 7th
  • Summary of the Veterinarian Interviews on cases of MCF
  • Case information was obtained by interview for 24 head of cattle. The affected cattle were 22 months of age on average with a range of 5 to 60 months.
  • Many breeds were represented and included beef and dairy animals:
  • 4Herefords, 3 Guernseys, 3 Holsteins, 2 Brown Swiss, 1 Jersey, 2 Simmental cross 1crossbred, 7 Angus and 1Milking Shorthorn
  • The dates of death by week showed that the peak occurred in the week of November 11th; 9 weeks after showing at the fair
what we know
What we know
  • This outbreak occurred at the Puyallup Fair, but it could happen anywhere animals (sheep and cattle) are commingled
  • Every one of the cases that were confirmed were cattle exhibited at the Puyallup Fair
  • Foreign Animal Diseases were ruled out with Plum Island testing
what we know so far
What we know so far
  • The weather (humidity 80-100% for the whole event), age of the sheep, time of year, and ventilation patterns may have combined to produce the “Perfect Storm” for this disease to be transmitted
  • Stress
the perfect storm
The Perfect Storm
  • This event will change the way fairs do business for a long time to come.
  • This is a wake-up call for everyone; not just fairs and regulatory personnel, EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE ALERT. This could have just as easily been Foot and Mouth Disease.
  • Officials say its not if but when we experience a FAD
  • The Puyallup Fair sent a letter to open class exhibitors and communicated with FFA and 4H chapter advisors.
  • Bovine Issues Working Group
  • WSDA sent a letter to all large animal practitioners in the state.
  • WSDA sent a letter to all bovine and ovine producers who had a registered state premises.
  • WSDA contacted WDF, WCA, CPOW and Feeders
laboratory testing
Laboratory Testing
  • WSDA and WSU paid for preliminary testing until confirmed diagnosis
  • USDA Agriculture Research Service is paying for all follow up MCF testing
  • Washington FFA Foundation, P.O. Box 14633, Tumwater, WA  98511.
    • Note: donation is for MCF fund
  • For some diseases, the risk for transmission is greater through one route over another. However, having all the prevention steps in place will reduce the risks for a number of diseases at the same time
  • Although mentioned as a potential fomite, the role that people play in disease transmission cannot be emphasized enough. People wear the boots, touch the animals, and use the equipment
biosecurity 101
Biosecurity 101
  • Co-mingled animals at any collection point are a risk
  • Separate infected and carrier animals from susceptible species.
    • Assume sheep are carriers
    • Goats maybe sporadic
  • Biosecurity
    • Species dedicated clothing and equipment
    • Wash hands before and after handling animals
    • Common sense, foot baths, insect control and education
prevention and control
Prevention and Control
  • Avoid exposing cattle, bison and deer during parturition.
  • Zoological parks: Introduce only sero negative animals
  • No vaccine available
  • Possible value in intranasal vaccines with interferon production?
take home messages
Take Home Messages
  • Don’t mix species at any collection point
  • Call quickly with suspicious disease symptoms
    • Rule out FAD
    • More rapid containment
  • MCF may not be as rare as we thought it was-prevention is the key
  • Communication is key to rapid containment