Although commonly associated with infection in cattle, bovine viral diarrhea viruses (BVDV) also replicate in many domestic and wildlife species, including cervids. Bovine viral diarrhea viruses have been isolated from a number of cervids, including mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus), but little information is available regarding clinical presentation and progression of infection in these species. In preliminary studies of experimental infection of deer with BVDV, researchers noted seroconversion but no clinical signs. In this study, we infected white-tailed deer fawns that were negative for BVDV and for antibodies against BVDV, with either a type 1 or a type 2 BVDV that had been isolated from white-tailed deer. Fawns were monitored for changes in basal temperature, circulating lymphocytes, and platelets. The clinical progression following inoculation in these fawns was similar to that seen with BVDV infections in cattle and included fever and depletion of circulating lymphocytes. Because free-ranging cervid populations are frequently in contact with domestic cattle in the United States, possible transfer of BVDV between cattle and cervids has significant implications for proposed BVDV control programs.
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Vol. 43 • No. 4