Persistent infection with bovine herpesvirus-1: a rabbit model
This study consisted of two parts: (1) an examination of the rabbit as a laboratory model for the study of persistent bovine herpesvirus-1 infection (BHV-1) and (2) an examination of the pathogenesis of acute and recurrent BHV-1 infection in rabbits following conjunctival inoculation;Persistent infection with BHV-1 was established in all rabbits following conjunctival inoculation of virus. Spontaneous reactivations of BHV-1 with and without the appearance of recurrent ocular lesions were observed in persistently infected rabbits. BHV-1 was reactivated predictably and shed from all persistently infected rabbits following the administration of dexamethasone. Recurrent virus shed and ocular lesions were restricted to the inoculated eye;The pathogenesis of acute and recurrent BHV-1 infection in rabbits following conjunctival inoculation was studied using virus isolation, fluorescent antibody staining, and histopathologic examination. BHV-1 produced a moderate to severe conjunctivitis following conjunctival inoculation. Infection was confined to ocular tissues and the trigeminal ganglion of the inoculated side. Generalization of infection to the central nervous system was not observed;Recurrent BHV-1 infection, induced following dexamethasone treatment, was confined to ocular tissues and the trigeminal ganglia. BHV-1 was isolated from the trigeminal ganglia of persistently infected rabbits. In addition, virus specific fluorescent cells were detected in the trigeminal ganglia of dexamethasone treated rabbits prior to the appearance of virus in ocular tissues. These observations suggest that BHV-1 persists in the trigeminal ganglia of rabbits following conjunctival inoculation.