[en] Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) is a pathology usually lethal which has been described in a large number of ruminant species. Based on the etiology, two main forms of MCF have been described, i.e., the European and the African forms due to ovine herpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2) and alcelaphine herpesvirus 1 (AlHV-1), respectively. The present review is devoted to the African form of MCF and to its causative agent AlHV-1. AlHV-1 belongs to the Gammaherpesvirinae subfamily of the Herpesviridae family. Wildebeests (Connochaetes spp) carry AlHV-1, which is lethal for a large number of ruminant species, while apparently harmless to its natural host. In hosts susceptible to MCF, the pathology is characterized by fever, extensive lymphadenopathy, ulcerative lesions of the digestive and the upper respiratory tracts mucous membranes and severe keratoconjunctivitis. In the present paper, we will review the data available to date on AlHV-1 and on the African form of MCF with emphasis on the pathogenesis, clinical signs and anatomo-pathological lesions of MCF. Finally, we will discuss the relationship between AlHV-1 and wildebeest as an example of symbiosis between a virus and its natural host.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS