Filter-paper (FP) blood sampling can facilitate wildlife research and expand disease surveillance. Previous work indicated that Nobuto FP samples from caribou and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus subspecies) had comparable sensitivity and specificity to serum samples (≥80% for both) in competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (cELISAs) for Brucella spp., Neospora caninum, and West Nile virus. The same sensitivity and specificity criteria were met in indirect ELISAs for Brucella spp., bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV-1), parainfluenza virus type 3 (PI-3), and bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), with adjusted FP thresholds used for PI-3 and BRSV. Comparable sensitivity and specificity values to serum were also observed for FP in virus neutralization (VN) assays for bovine viral diarrhea virus types I and II; however, reduced sensitivity is a potential limitation of FP samples in protocols that require undiluted serum (i.e., VN and N. caninum cELISA). We evaluated the performance of FP samples from reindeer and caribou in these nine assays after simulating potential challenges of high-latitude field collections: 1) different durations of storage and 2) different processing/storage regimes involving freezing or drying. Sample pairs (serum and FP) were collected from reindeer and caribou populations in 2007–10 and were tested in duplicate. Comparable performance to serum was defined as sensitivity and specificity ≥80%. In the storage experiments, FP performance was determined after 2 mo of storage dry at room temperature, and after two longer periods (variable depending on assay; up to 2 yr). After 1 yr, compared to frozen serum stored for the same period, sensitivity was ≥88% for all but two assays (68% BHV-1; 75% PI-3), and specificity remained >90%. A limited trial evaluated the effect of freezing FP samples as opposed to drying them for storage. There were no observed detrimental effects of freezing on FP sample performance, but rigorous investigation is warranted.
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