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Bovine leukemia virus becomes established in dairy herds before the first lactation


In this work, we studied seven groups of pregnant heifers from a consortium of dairy farms heavily infected with bovine leukemia virus (BLV). ELISA testing showed that the seroprevalence ranges of BLV in heifers between 36.1 and 66.5 %. No significant differences in proviral load were found when comparing heifers with adult cattle. Before their first delivery, more than 9.8 % of heifers show a high proviral load. Because BLV infection can occur during the first two years of life, the rationale of any strategy should be to take action as early as possible after birth.

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This work was financially supported by the project PAE 37143 ANPCyT-INTA, INTA AESA-203992, Laboratorio de Virus Adventicios (INTA) and Fundación ArgenINTA. G. Gutiérrez, I. Alvarez, J.P. Jaworski, M. Poli and K. Trono are researchers from “Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria” (INTA) and “Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnicas” (CONICET). H. Carignano is supported by a fellowship from INTA. L. Willems received financial support from “Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique” (FNRS), the Télévie, the Interuniversity Attraction Poles (IAP) Program “Virus-host interplay at the early phases of infection” BELVIR initiated by the Belgian Science Policy Office, the Belgian Foundation against Cancer (FBC), the “Centre anticancéreux près ULg” (CAC) and the “Fonds Léon Fredericq” (FLF), the “Agricultureislife” project of Gembloux Agrobiotech (GxABT) and the “ULg Fonds Spéciaux pour la Recherche”.

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Correspondence to Gerónimo Gutiérrez.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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The procedures for extraction and handling of samples were approved by the Institutional Committee for Care and Use of Experimental Animals of the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (CICUAE-INTA) under protocol number 35/2010 and followed the guidelines described in the institutional manual.

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R. Merlini and G. Gutiérrez contributed equally to this work

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Merlini, R., Gutiérrez, G., Alvarez, I. et al. Bovine leukemia virus becomes established in dairy herds before the first lactation. Arch Virol 161, 3215–3217 (2016).

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  • BLV
  • Heifers
  • Seroprevalence
  • Proviral load