Exotic wildlife can introduce new diseases or act as reservoirs of endemic diseases. On White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico (USA), significant declines in populations of native ungulates generally correspond to increases in range and population density of the exotic gemsbok (Oryx gazella gazella), introduced beginning in 1969. We surveyed gemsbok in 2001 for exposure to a variety of diseases potentially important for native ungulates. High seroprevalence was found for malignant catarrhal fever virus (49 [98%] of 50 sera; 43 [96%] of 45 plasma samples), bluetongue virus (48 [96%] of 50), bovine respiratory syncytial virus (33 [66%] of 50), and parainfluenza-3 virus (10 [20%] of 50). Low numbers of Nematodirus spp. eggs in a few individuals were the only parasites detected in gemsbok. Exposure to the above diseases in gemsbok is of interest to managers because of potential implications for recovery of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana) and desert mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus crooki) in the White Sands area because each has been implicated in mortality in these species either in the White Sands area or elsewhere in the western/southwestern United States.
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Vol. 39 • No. 4