During 2007–09, ear-notch samples from free-living (n=527) and farmed (n=237) Austrian red deer (Cervus elaphus elaphus) were tested for bovine viral diarrhea virus type 1 (BVDV-1) and type 2 (BVDV-2) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and single-tube real-time reverse transcription PCR. Ear-notch samples were collected by applying modified ear tags from randomly selected hunter-harvested red deer and from individuals originating from deer holdings. All samples tested negative for BVDV-1 and BVDV-2. Results of this study show no evidence of persistently infected animals. They indicate further that BVDV is playing a minor role in free-living and farmed red deer in Austria. Ear-notch samples are an effective tool for in vivo and postmortem detection of BVDV in wildlife. This sample collection technique can be easily used in combination with tagging individual wild animals kept in captivity.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4