Serum samples collected from 1,396 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in five areas of Georgia (USA) from 1989 to 1991 were tested for precipitating and serum neutralizing (SN) antibodies to the enzootic North American epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) and bluetongue virus (BTV) serotypes. Precipitating antibodies to the EHDV or BTV serogroups, as detected by agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) tests, were present in 35%, 29%, and 39% of deer sampled in 1989, 1990, and 1991, respectively. Significant differences (P < 0.05) in precipitating antibody prevalence were detected between physiographic regions during all years. Antibody prevalence consistently was highest in deer sampled from the Coastal Plain (77%), followed by the Piedmont (33%), Ridge and Valley (29%), Barrier Island (5%), and Blue Ridge (2%) regions. All AGID-positive samples were tested by SN tests for antibodies against all North American EHDV and BTV serotypes (EHDV serotypes 1 and 2, BTV serotypes 2, 10, 11, 13, and 17). Criteria for previous exposure to a specific serotype were either detection of monospecific results or clusters of positive results against that serotype. Serologic evidence of previous exposure to EHDV serotypes 1 and 2, and BTV serotypes 11 and 13 was detected during all years. Predominant serotypes varied among years. In general, evidence of exposure to EHDV serotype 2 appeared annually while exposure to BTV serotype 13 and EHDV serotype 1 decreased and increased, respectively. To determine serotype diversity prior to 1989, 134 AGID-positive white-tailed deer serum samples collected from 1967 to 1988 also were tested by SN. Evidence of exposure to EHDV serotypes 1 and 2 and BTV serotypes 11, 13, and 17 was detected.
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Vol. 31 • No. 3