Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF): A Message From the State Veterinarian

As you may have heard, in fall 2008 WSU confirmed that 19 cattle died from infection from the sheep-strain of Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF) after showing at the Puyallup, Washington fair. During their stay there, a number of factors (sheep and cattle housed together, hot weather conditions, ventilation directed from sheep to cattle, possible virus shedding in lambs, etc.) came together in a way that apparently allowed the virus to spread from carrier-sheep to susceptible cattle. 

Even though the combination of events was unique at the Puyallup Fair and the possibility of the same combination occurring at Oregon Fairs may be minimal, the event points out the importance of maintaining fundamental biosecurity measures for disease protection. We all desire to prevent this or other disease occurrences in livestock in Oregon. As a friendly reminder and disease risk “tune up,” I have sent out the following information to Fair Managers and exhibitors. You will see that the focus is biosecurity against disease in general, not MCF specifically:

You may get calls from your clients about MCF and potential risk to animals attending fairs this year.  We believe that following the guidelines listed in these documents will help prevent not only MCF, but also other livestock diseases encountered in an exhibition setting.

If you have questions feel free to contact me.

Don Hansen DVM, MPVM
State Veterinarian, Animal Health and Identification, Oregon Department of Agriculture
Phone: (503) 986-4680