Malignant catarrhal fever in pastoral Maasai herds caused by wildebeest associated alcelaphine herpesvirus-1: An outbreak report

Document Type : Clinical Report


1 Veterinary Investigation Centre (VIC), Arusha, Tanzania

2 Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL), Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

3 Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, Dar-es-Salaam

4 District Veterinary Office, Loliondo, Arusha, Tanzania


An outbreak of malignant catarrhal fever (MCF), a fatal viral disease in indigenous Tanzanian shorthorn zebu in Ngorongoro district of Tanzania during the period of June 2004 has been described. The disease was diagnosed by clinical, post mortem findings and the virus was identified using molecular characterization study. The history and clinical features included pyrexia, cornel opacity, nasal discharges, multifocal buccal ulceration of varying size and general unthrifty. Pathological features showed that abomasum and intestine contents were blood tinged and their walls were congested and hyperemic with scattered hemorrhagic patches. Furthermore greenish-black longitudinal stripes in the caecum and ileo-caecal junction that disappeared upon opening of the intestine were a distinct feature. It has been concluded that as the wildebeest have a wide distribution throughout Tanzania, it is likely that MCF occurs in many parts of the country and therefore continuation of surveillance system seems necessary.