Brain and serum were collected from 120 and 12 free-ranging sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis), respectively, from six regions in eastern Hokkaido during controlled hunts in the autumn of 2003. Brains were tested for Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii were measured by means of a latex agglutination test. No brain tested positive for either type of DNA, and no antibody to Toxoplasma gondii was detected in serum, suggesting a low prevalence of infection with these organisms in free-ranging sika deer from eastern Hokkaido. Further examination of multiple tissues by PCR and serologic surveys will be necessary to confirm this.
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Vol. 41 • No. 2