3 years ago

Fetopathic effects of experimental Schmallenberg virus infection in pregnant goats

Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is an emerging virus responsible for congenital malformations in the offspring of domestic ruminants. It is speculated that infection of pregnant dams may also lead to a significant number of unrecognized fetal losses during the early period of gestation. To assess the pathogenic effects of SBV infection of goats in early pregnancy, we inoculated dams at day 28 or 42 of gestation and followed the animals until day 55 of gestation. Viremia in the absence of clinical signs was detected in all virus-inoculated goats. Fetal deaths were observed in several goats infected at day 28 or 42 of gestation and were invariably associated with the presence of viral genomic RNA in the affected fetuses. Among the viable fetuses, two displayed lesions in the central nervous system (porencephaly) in the presence of viral genome and antigen. All fetuses from goats infected at day 42 and the majority of fetuses from goats infected at day 28 of gestation contained viral genomic RNA. Viral genome was widely distributed in these fetuses and their respective placentas, and infectious virus could be isolated from several organs and placentomes of the viable fetuses. Our results show that fetuses of pregnant goats are susceptible to vertical SBV infection during early pregnancy spanning at least the period between day 28 and 42 of gestation. The outcomes of experimental SBV infection assessed at day 55 of gestation include fetal mortalities, viable fetuses displaying lesions of the central nervous system, as well as viable fetuses without any detectable lesion.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0378113517305709

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