Fig.1 BRSV structure. (Valarcher & Taylor, 2007)
The Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV) is a major cause of respiratory disease in cattle around the world, especially in young calves. The virus infects respiratory epithelial cells in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts, with the latter primarily affecting bronchioles and causing severe bronchiolitis. BRSV is found all over the world, and while it is native to cattle, it can also infect sheep and goats. The virus replicates in cell culture, allowing it to be propagated in cell culture for serology, viral isolation, and vaccine production. There are currently several BRSV vaccines available on the market (killed and modified live).
The BRSV is a member of the Pneumovirus genus in the Paramyxoviridae family. BRSV is a negative-stranded RNA virus with an envelope. The virus is 150-200 nm in size and has a spherical to pleomorphic shape. The virus genome is non-segmented and 15 kb long, with 10 genes encoding 11 proteins: A nucleocapsid (N) protein; a phosphoprotein (P); a matrix protein (M); glycoproteins SH, attachment glycoprotein (G), and fusion (F); M2-1 and M2-2 (control transcription and RNA replication); and RNA polymerase (L). The F and G genes are major targets of the immune system and play important roles in viral infectivity.
Fig.2 BRSV genome and protein. (Valarcher & Taylor, 2007)
The BRSV has four antigenic groups (A, B, AB, and an intermediate group) and six genetic groups (I-VI). Based on mAb reactivity to the G protein, two serotypes of the BRSV have been described for cattle, though these may represent variants of a single major antigenic group.
A BRSV diagnosis requires laboratory confirmation. The virus neutralization test and ELISA are the most commonly used methods for detecting BRSV-specific antibodies in milk and serum. Although virus isolation is difficult, PCR is a useful and quick method for detecting the antigen. BRSV antigens were identified in frozen lung samples using immunofluorescence stains. When compared to immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry (IHC) sections provide an excellent assessment of cellular structures and lesions.
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