PUYALLUP, Wash. - More than a dozen cattle that were exhibited by FFA students at the 2008 Puyallup Fair in the Dairy Barn Complex during the last five days of the Fair have died of a viral disease.
A press release from Karen J. LaFlamme of the Puyallup Fair says 19 cattle died of Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF) a virus that poses no threat to humans, but can be fatal to cattle.
Sixteen of the affected cattle were owned by FFA students from Lynden, Arlington, Rainier, Fife, Elma, Sequim and Centralia, and three of the cattle were Fair demonstration animals.
The Everett Herald reports that state veterinarians believe lambs housed in the same fair barn as the cattle spread ovine herpesvirus 2, which causes MCF.
Most sheep around the world can shed this virus, though adolescent sheep are known to shed the virus 50-300 times more than adult sheep, according to MCF expert, Hong Li, DVM, PhD, Research Microbiologist at Washington State University.
The Herald reports that while the investigation is continuing, there is evidence that the virus was spread through a ventilation system in the fair barn.
The State Veterinarian, Washington State Dept. of Agriculture, Washington State University Animal Disease Research Unit, and the Puyallup Fair are involved in the investigation.
The State Veterinary office will be developing protocol and educational materials concerning this issue for fairs statewide once the investigation is complete, and the Puyallup Fair will be creating specific protocol for their animal barns.