A total of 486 serum samples collected from several species of both free-living and captive cervids in Germany was examined for antibodies against malignant catarrhal fever (MCF)-associated viruses (MCFV) by a competitive-inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (CI-ELISA). Eleven (2%) of these samples were positive for antibodies against MCFV. Among 157 serum samples collected from 16 different species of captive deer including four (7%) of 54 fallow deer and one (7%) of 14 sika deer (Cervus nippon) were seropositive. Among 329 samples from three species of free-ranging deer, including 253 roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), 22 red deer (Cervus elaphus) and 54 fallow deer (Cervus dama), only fallow deer were antibody-positive. Of the 25 fallow deer samples collected between 1990 and 1993, four (16%) were seropositive. Among 29 free-ranging fallow deer samples collected in the hunting period 1996–1997, antibodies to MCFV were detected in two (7%) of these sera. All of these fallow deer samples were collected from a circumscribed area in northern Germany. In the same area a high seroprevalence (72%) to MCFV was observed in domestic sheep (n = 50). Among 20 sheep samples (buffy coat) and 15 fallow deer samples (spleen or lymph nodes) examined for ovine herpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2) by PCR, all 20 sheep samples examined were OvHV-2 positive, but all of the 15 fallow deer samples, including seven seropositive deer, were OvHV-2 negative.
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Vol. 34 • No. 4