& livestock assay data sheet
Alcelaphine herpesvirus type 1 (malignant catarrhal fever)
- Ultrasensitive detection of alcelaphine herpesvirus 1 by real time PCR
Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) is an infectious viral disease that has a
wide clinical spectrum depending on the species of animal being
infected. The disease mainly affects ruminants, and rarely,
swine. The virus infects domestic cattle, water buffalo, Bali
cattle (banteng), American bison, and deer. In addition to these
farmed animals, infection has been described in a variety of
captive ruminants in mixed zoo collections.
Several members of a group of closely related ruminant gammaherpesviruses
of the Rhadinovirus
genus are responsible for causing MCF. This group of ruminant
rhadinoviruses currently comprises approximately 10 known
members but only a few are known to be pathogenic under natural
conditions. The principal carriers and their viruses are sheep
(ovine herpesvirus 2), wildebeest (alcelaphine herpesvirus 1),
and goats (caprine herpesvirus 2). Another strain of
unidentified origin has also been reported to cause MCF in
white-tailed deer. Virtually all clinical cases of MCF are
caused by the sheep or wildebeest strains.
In bison and some deer, MCF is acute and highly lethal, capable of
infecting whole herds; however, in cattle the disease is
generally seen sporadically and usually does not spread through
a herd. Although infection is usually fatal, recovery has been
documented in some infected animals, a few of these having
developed only mild or subclinical symptoms. Occasionally, MCR
presents only as chronic alopecia and weight loss
Transmission of the virus can be through direct contact with nasal
secretions from infected animals or through airborne route.
Infection is lifelong in animals that survive, and recrudescence
of latent infections is possible.
A preferred method for clinical diagnosis of alcelaphine herpesvirus 1
infection is molecular detection of viral DNA by PCR (Traul et
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical
diagnosis of Alcelaphine herpesvirus-1 infection
Help ensure that animal herds and populations are free of
Early prevention of spread of the virus among animals
Minimize human exposure to the virus
Safety monitoring of biological products that derive
Traul, D.L., Elias, S., Taus, N.S., Herrmann, L.M., Oaks, J.L., Li, H.
(2005) A real-time PCR assay for measuring alcelaphine
herpesvirus-1 DNA. J. Virol. Methods. 129:186-190.
whole blood in EDTA (purple top) or ACD (yellow top) tube, or
nasal or throat swab, or 0.2 ml fresh, frozen or fixed tissue
(kidney, intestinal wall, lymph node or brain).
types other than those listed here, please call to confirm
specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during
very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship
with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are
specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain
frozen in transit. See
for more information.
2 business days
Qualitative reverse transcription coupled real time PCR