Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Rotavirus: the virus

Contributor(s): Tammy Hassel, Veronica Fowler

Introduction

Classification

Taxonomy

  • Family: reoviridae.
  • Genus: rotavirus.

Etymology

  • From Latin, ’rota’ - wheel.

Active Forms

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Clinical Effects

Epidemiology

Habitat

  • Fecal contamination of environment.
  • Many infections are subclinical, especially in adult cattle, although virus can still be shed and result in transmission of the infection to other cows within the herd.

Transmission

  • Transmission of rotavirus is through the fecal-oral route.

Pathological effects

  • After passing through the stomach the virus infects enterocytes on the villi of the small intestine, leading to their destruction.
  • Replacement enterocytes have reduced levels of disaccharide and defective glucose coupled sodium transport.
  • Non-structural protein NSP4 functions as an enterotoxin and further inhibits glucose coupled sodium transport.
  • Undigested lactose in the lumen provides a substrate for bacterial proliferation and results in fluid retention in the lumen.
  • This combination of fluid retention and impaired fluid absorption results in diarrhea.
  • After a short incubation period (typically less than 24 hours) clinical signs include:
    • Depression.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Reluctance to stand.
    • Reluctance to drink.
    • Mild to severe diarrhea.
  • Calves are most commonly affected at 4- 14 days old as maternal antibodies to rotavirus from the mother colostrum Colostrum:overview begin to reduce after 48 to 72 hours.

Other Host Effects

  • Many infections are subclinical, especially in adult cattle, although virus can still be shed and result in transmission of the infection to other cows within the herd.

Control

Control via animal

  • Isolation of infected animals from the rest of the herd. If a calf is affected it should be isolated from its dam.
  • Treatment of rotavirus infection usually consists of fluid therapy Fluid therapy for cattle.

Control via animal

  • Isolation of infected animals from the rest of the herd. If a calf is affected it should be isolated from its dam.
  • Treatment of rotavirus infection usually consists of fluid therapy to replace fluids lost as a result of the diarrhea.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Antibiotics maybe given if the calf does not respond to fluid therapy in order to prevent secondary bacterial infections.

Control via environment

  • Isolation of infected animals from the rest of the herd. If a calf is affected it should be isolated from its dam.
  • Good hygiene practices to limit exposure to potentially infected fecal material.
  • Disinfection with an appropriate disinfectant.

Vaccination

  • Commercial vaccinations are available which require a single dose given to the pregnant cow 12 to 3 weeks prior to calving which increases specific antibodies with the mothers’ colostrum Colostrum: overview.

Diagnosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Collins P J, Mulherin E, Cashman O, Lennon G, Gunn L, O’Shea H & Fannin S (2014) Detection and characterisation of bovine rotavirus in Ireland from 2006–2008. Irish Veterinary Journal 63, 13 PubMed.
  • Papp H, László B, Jakab F, Ganesh B, De Grazia S, Matthijnssens J, Ciarlet M, Martella V & Bányai K (2013) Review of group A rotavirus strains reported in swine and cattle. Vet Microbiol 165 (3-4), 190-9 PubMed.
  • Midgley S E, Bányai K, Buesa J, Halaihel N, Hjulsager CK, Jakab F, Kaplon J, Larsen L E, Monini M, Poljšak-Prijatelj M, Pothier P, Ruggeri F M, Steyer A, Koopmans M & Böttiger B (2012) Diversity and zoonotic potential of rotaviruses in swine and cattle across Europe. Vet Microbiol 156 (3-4), 238-45 PubMed.
  • Izzo M M, Kirkland P D, Gu X, Lele Y, Gunn A A & House J K (2012) Comparison of three diagnostic techniques for detection of rotavirus and coronavirus in calf faeces in Australia. Aust Vet J 90 (4), 122-9 PubMed.
  • Bridger J (1994) A definition of bovine rotavirus virulence. Journal of General Virology. 75, 2807-2812 PubMed.

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