In the present study, cross-protection to bovine herpesvirus type 5 (BHV-5) induced by bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV-1) vaccination was examined following inoculation of rabbits and calves with a glycoprotein E (gE)-negative BHV-1 vaccine and subsequent challenge with BHV-5. Rabbits (n = 5) and calves (n = 8) were vaccinated [five rabbits intranasally (IN), four calves IN and four intramuscularly (IM)] with 7.1 log10median tissue culture infective dose (TCID50) of the BHV-1 vaccine. Rabbits and calves were challenged IN [rabbits 2 weeks post-vaccination (pv); calves 5 weeks pv] with 9.1 log10 TCID50 of BHV-5. Two out of five vaccinated rabbits died after challenge with typical BHV-5 disease, as did 3/5 non-vaccinated controls. In calves, 4/8 vaccinated animals displayed mild signs of disease, whereas 6/6 non-vaccinated controls developed signs of disease, so severe that 2/6 had to be killed. Besides, nasal virus shedding post-challenge was not reduced by vaccination. At necropsy, on day 21 post-challenge, typical BHV-5 lesions were evident in brain tissues of both vaccinated and non-vaccinated calves. Dexametasone administration at 180 days post-infection did not reactivate clinical signs despite BHV-5 shedding in nasal secretions of both vaccinated and non-vaccinated calves. These results show that the BHV-1 vaccine evaluated here did not confer protection to BHV-5 in rabbits. In calves, BHV-1 vaccination did confer some protection to BHV-5 induced clinical disease, but it did not prevent infection and had no effect on nasal virus shedding or on the development of encephalitic lesions.
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