We investigated whether naturally acquired maternal antibodies to epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus serotype 2 (EHDV-2) would protect white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawns against infection and clinical disease following an EHDV-2 challenge. We compared viremia and clinical response in 27–47-d-old, experimentally infected fawns with and without maternally derived antibodies to EHDV-2. Mild to moderate clinical signs were observed in four seronegative (maternal antibody-negative) fawns, which were viremic from 3 to 14 d postinoculation. Individual peak blood virus titers for seronegative fawns ranged from 104.3 to 106.3 median tissue culture infective doses (TCID50)/mL. In contrast, clinical signs were not observed in seropositive (maternal antibody-positive) fawns and a transient low-level viremia (≤102.4 TCID50/mL) occurred in two of six fawns. Our results indicated that the presence of maternally derived EHDV-2 antibodies in fawns prevents or greatly reduces clinical disease and the level and duration of EHDV-2 viremia.
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Vol. 57 • No. 1