We derived sequence information from cloned Hind III fragment “D” of alcelaphine herpesvirus 1 strain WC11, an agent of malignant catarrhal fever (MCF). Based on this sequence, oligonucleotide primers were selected and synthesized for use in a polymerase chain reaction amplification assay. These primers were used to test samples of total nucleic acids isolated from multiple tissues taken from an Indian gaur (Bos gaurus gaurus) at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in San Diego, California (USA) which had clinical signs of a natural infection of MCF. Six of eight tissue samples examined had amplifiable sequences present. A nucleic acid probe complementary to the sequence of the original clone between the primer sites also was synthesized and used to confirm the identity of the amplified viral sequences, thus providing a diagnosis of MCF at the molecular level.
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Vol. 30 • No. 3