The bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV1) strain Za is a conventionally attenuated strain with a 2.7 kb deletion that encompasses the complete coding region for glycoprotein E (gE). This gE-negative strain was used as whole-virus antigen in an inactivated virus vaccine. Three different antigen concentrations of this vaccine were evaluated for safety and efficacy in a vaccination-challenge experiment in calves. No adverse effects were observed in any of the calves vaccinated with the gE-negative vaccines. Calves given the vaccine with the highest antigen concentration were adequately protected against challenge; clinical symptoms were virtually absent and challenge virus shedding was significantly reduced as compared with unvaccinated calves. We developed a sensitive blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect antibodies against gE. After vaccination, calves did not produce antibodies against gE, but these antibodies were detectable within 2 weeks after challenge both in vaccinated and in unvaccinated calves. These results demonstrate the efficacy of a gE-negative inactivated BHV1 vaccine and the detectability of antibodies against gE after infection. The combined use of the marker vaccine and the gE-blocking ELISA makes it possible to differentiate between vaccinated animals and infected animals. This possibility may be very useful in BHV1 control programmes.