Six yearling American bison (Bison bison bison) bulls and one yearling ewe (Ovis aries) were inoculated intradermally and subcutaneously with 2 × 105 plaque forming units (pfu) of bluetongue (BT) virus serotype 11. Two uninoculated yearling bison bulls served as negative controls. Blood samples were collected for serology and virus isolation on 0, 4, 7, 11 and 14 days post-inoculation (dpi) and every 2 wk thereafter to 127 dpi. Every 4 wk a new ewe was inoculated with a pooled sample of whole blood from the six infected bison, and each sheep was monitored for 28 days for clinical signs of BT and seroconversion. Bluetongue viremia was detected in all six inoculated bison starting at 4 to 28 dpi and was no longer detectable from 42 dpi onward. Pooled blood samples collected at 28, 56, 84 and 112 dpi from the six infected bison were not infectious for sheep. The six infected bison seroconverted by 11 to 28 dpi on a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and by 28 dpi on the serum neutralization test, and all remained seropositive thereafter. No clinical signs or lesions attributable to BT were observed in the infected bison or controls. There was evidence that a small amount of epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 had been present in the BT virus inoculum; reasons are given for concluding that this did not affect the results of the BT study.
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Vol. 37 • No. 4