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ARS focuses on MCF test for bison, cattle
Pullman, Wash.-Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at Washington State University (WSU) have developed new tests to help diagnose malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) a leading disease of bison.
Pullman, Wash.-Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service(ARS) at Washington State University (WSU) have developed new tests to helpdiagnose malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) a leading disease of bison.
MCF is caused by a group of viruses, ARS reports. Harmless to humans,MCF can be fatal to bison and cattle. In the United States, domestic sheepare the predominate carriers of the virus. However, they apparently arenot susceptible to the disease, according to Hong Li, a veterinary microbiologistwith the ARS Animal Disease Research Unit.
Li and co-investigator Tim B. Crawford of WSU have developed tests thatare helping researchers and veterinarians detect and correctly identifythe disease. Their research may lead to new prevention techniques. Currently,there is no treatment, cure or vaccine for MCF.
One test is known as a CI-ELISA, short for competitive inhibition enzyme-linkedimmunosorbent assay. It determines whether any of the animals in a herdare carrying one of the MCF viruses, even if they're not showing any ofthe usual signs.
The CI-ELISA can't distinguish among the different kinds of MCF viruses.Their other tests, called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, can dothat. PCR assays also are important for discovering new kinds of MCF virusesin livestock and wildlife. For example, Li used PCR technology to successfullyidentify a new MCF virus in white-tailed deer.
Li received a top regional award from ARS in 2000 for his pioneeringresearch. In addition, he has served as special expert for the United Nationsin establishing diagnostic assays for MCF in West Africa.
Washington-A pilot program allows about 570 ranchers in Montana to purchaseinsurance that pays if land used for grazing livestock is destroyed by drought,fire, hail or insects.
If successful, the United States Department of Agriculture's Risk ManagementAgency, organizer of the program, plans to offer it nationally.
USDA will issue a final report on the program's feasibility this fall.