Five cervid species in Oregon, USA were tested with a serum neutralization assay for antibody to deerpox virus (DPV). None of the 50 elk (Cervus elaphus ssp. roosevelti and nelsonii) had detectable antibody. Prevalence of antibody to DPV in the remaining species was: 52% (n=55) in black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus), 32% (n= 59) in mule deer (O. hemionus hemionus), and 36% (n=50) in Columbian white-tailed deer (O. virginianus leucurus), with an overall antibody prevalence of 40.2% (n=164) for Odocoileus spp. Antibody-positive animals were identified throughout the state with no statistically significant differences among geographic regions. No statistically significant gender or age-related differences in antibody prevalence were demonstrated at either the genus or species level. This serosurvey indicates that exposure to DPV is common in Odocoileus populations in Oregon. Given the low rates of observed DPV-related disease, this high antibody prevalence suggests a pathogen of low virulence.
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Vol. 49 • No. 1