Since 2001, severe outbreaks of disease associated with border disease virus (BDV) infection have been reported in Pyrenean chamois. The disease is characterized by variable degrees of cachexia, alopecia and neurological manifestations prior to death. The aim of this study was to investigate this disease under experimental conditions. To assess viral virulence, humoral immune response, dissemination and probable routes of transmission, seven chamois (five seronegative and two seropositive for BDV) were inoculated with a BDV isolated from a naturally infected chamois. A group of three chamois were maintained as uninfected controls. The five seronegative chamois became viraemic from day 2 post-inoculation (p.i.) until their death (three animals) or the end of the experiment (on day 34 p.i.) and developed neutralizing antibodies from day 18 p.i. until the end of the study. Continuous shedding of the virus was detected by RT-PCR in oral, nasal and rectal swabs in viraemic chamois from day 5 p.i. Despite none of the viraemic chamois showing obvious neurological signs, all of them had a non-suppurative meningoencephalitis as seen in naturally infected chamois. The two inoculated BDV-seropositive chamois did not become viraemic. This study confirms that BDV is the primary agent of the disease that has been affecting chamois populations in recent years in the Pyrenees and that previously acquired humoral immunity is protective. © 2011 SGM.