Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Host predilection and transmissibility of vesicular stomatitis New Jersey virus strains in domestic cattle (Bos taurus) and swine (Sus scrofa)

Paul F Smith1, Elizabeth W Howerth2, Deborah Carter2, Elmer W Gray1, Raymond Noblet1, Roy D Berghaus3, David E Stallknecht4 and Daniel G Mead4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, 120 Cedar Street, 413 Biological Sciences Building, Athens, GA, 30602, USA

2 Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, 501 D.W. Brooks Drive, Athens, GA, 30602, USA

3 Department of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, 953 College Station Road, Athens, GA, 30605, USA

4 Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, 589 D.W. Brooks Drive, Wildlife Health Building, Athens, GA, 30602, USA

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BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:183  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-183

Published: 3 October 2012



Epidemiologic data collected during epidemics in the western United States combined with limited experimental studies involving swine and cattle suggest that host predilection of epidemic vesicular stomatitis New Jersey virus (VSNJV) strains results in variations in clinical response, extent and duration of virus shedding and transmissibility following infection in different hosts. Laboratory challenge of livestock with heterologous VSNJV strains to investigate potential viral predilections for these hosts has not been thoroughly investigated. In separate trials, homologous VSNJV strains (NJ82COB and NJ82AZB), and heterologous strains (NJ06WYE and NJOSF [Ossabaw Island, sand fly]) were inoculated into cattle via infected black fly bite. NJ82AZB and NJ06WYE were similarly inoculated into swine.


Clinical scores among viruses infecting cattle were significantly different and indicated that infection with a homologous virus resulted in more severe clinical presentation and greater extent and duration of viral shedding. No differences in clinical severity or extent and duration of viral shedding were detected in swine.


Differences in clinical presentation and extent and duration of viral shedding may have direct impacts on viral spread during epidemics. Viral transmission via animal-to-animal contact and insect vectored transmission are likely to occur at higher rates when affected animals are presenting severe clinical signs and shedding high concentrations of virus. More virulent viral strains resulting in more severe disease in livestock hosts are expected to spread more rapidly and greater distances during epidemics than those causing mild or inapparent signs.

Contact transmission; Insect transmission; Host predilection; Vesicular stomatitis virus