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Malignant catarrhal fever in kune kune pigs in the UK
  1. M. Wessels, BVetMed, MRCVS, FRCPath1,
  2. D. Harwood, BVetMed, MRCVS2,
  3. M. Maley, BSc3,
  4. K. Willoughby, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS3 and
  5. C. Balfour, BVSc, MRCVS4
  1. Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) – Preston, Barton Hall, Garstang Road, Barton, Preston, Lancashire PR3 0XE
  2. AHVLA – Winchester, Itchen Abbas, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 1BX
  3. Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0PZ
  4. Cedar Veterinary Group, Clifton Veterinary Surgery, Anstey Lane, Alton, Hampshire GU34 2RH
  1. E-mail for correspondence mark.wessels{at}

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MALIGNANT catarrhal fever (MCF) is an invariably fatal disease of cattle and other ungulates, including pigs, caused by the gammaherpesviruses alcelaphine herpesvirus type 1 and ovine herpesvirus type 2 (OvHV-2) (Reid 2004, Russell and others 2009). The respective viruses are widely found in wildebeest and sheep, which do not develop clinical signs in response to infection, but which act as reservoir hosts to other susceptible species, with direct, aerosol and fomite contact being implicated in the spread of infection. Two other gammaherpesviruses have also been associated with clinical disease in deer: MCF virus of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) (Li and others 2000), for which the reservoir host is unknown, and caprine herpesvirus type 2 (CpHV-2), which is found in clinically healthy goats (Li and others 2003, Keel and others 2003, Foyle and others 2009). Infection with all of these viruses in susceptible species causes indistinguishable clinical and pathological disease. Clinical signs are variable but are usually characterised by pyrexia, anorexia, oculonasal discharge, lymphadenopathy and cutaneous, alimentary and nervous signs including keratoconjunctivitis (Radostits and others 2007). Histological lesions consist of necrotising vasculitis, lymphoproliferative changes and erosive/ulcerative mucosal and cutaneous lesions (Brown and others 2007).

MCF in pigs is rare, with the majority of reports originating from central European and Scandinavian countries, and more recently from the USA and Brazil (Løken and others 1998, Albini and others 2003, Syrjälä and others 2006, Alcaraz and others 2009, Azevedo Costa and others 2010, Gauger and others 2010). This short communication describes a case of MCF in a pig in the UK.

Two ailing four-month-old kune kune pigs were presented in late August 2010. The animals belonged to a group of seven pigs from two merged litters of the same age running in a small woodland …

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