Persistence of inclusion body disease of cranes virus (IBDCV) was determined by monitoring virus shedding, serum antibody and in vitro cultivation of trigeminal ganglia from cranes. Samples were collected from captive cranes surviving the outbreak in 1978 and from cranes inoculated with the virus. Tissues and fluids from eggs of cranes that survived the outbreak were also tested for virus. Latent IBDCV was found in the trigeminal ganglion of one crane that was exposed to the virus in 1978. Spontaneous or induced (cyclophosphamide and dexamethasone) reactivation of viral shedding was not detected in any cranes tested. Five of six experimentally inoculated cranes died with lesions of an inclusion body disease, but virus was isolated from only three of them. One crane shed detectable levels of IBDCV prior to death. The surviving crane developed a transient antibody response without evidence of viral shedding, after five exposures to the virus. A latent infection was not detected in this crane. Serum antibody titers of cranes that survived the outbreak declined from 1980–1982. No virus was isolated from the eggs. Although IBDCV is capable of persisting in a latent form in the trigeminal ganglia of cranes, the low frequency of viral shedding suggests that this virus may be only a sporadic problem.
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