We investigated the feasibility of using whole blood dried on paper strips as a means to collect antibody prevalence data for the epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses (EHDV) and bluetongue viruses (BTV) from hunter-harvested male mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in October 2002 from Arizona, USA. We compared antibody prevalence estimates in mule deer from paired paper strip and serum samples. Prevalence data obtained from elution of dried blood on paper strips proved to be consistent with results from serum in 94% of the samples tested. The paper strip method allows easy collection of blood from dead animals, with a smaller amount of blood being needed for analyses. Also, samples do not need to be refrigerated before analyses. We also used serum samples to determine hemorrhagic disease (HD) serotype exposure status of mule deer harvested from 4 distinct areas in Arizona. Antibodies to BTV and EHDV were identified in 3 of the 4 areas, with positive results to EHDV-1, EHDV-2, BTV-10, and BTV-11 being most common. Many animals did not have antibodies against the BTV serotypes. Exposure varied geographically and potentially with elevation. Hemorrhagic disease viruses commonly infect Arizona mule deer, except on the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona.
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Vol. 42 • No. 1