Deerpox virus (DPV) is the sole member of the newly ratified Cervidpoxvirus genus in the subfamily Chordopoxvirinae. Presented here is the first diagnostic report of isolation of DPV from a goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa). A tissue homogenate was submitted by a zoologic park to the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota for poxvirus diagnostic investigation and then referred to Plum Island Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for confirmation. Poxviral infection was confirmed using electron microscopy. The virus was cultured in vero cells and subjected to further diagnoses for characterization. Polymerase chain reaction targeting the major envelope (B2L) protein and RNA polymerase of parapoxviruses, and the poly-A polymerase gene of capripoxviruses, were all negative. Degenerative pan-poxvirus primers that target the DNA polymerase (DNApol) and DNA topoisomerase (DNAtopo) genes, however, successfully amplified poxviral DNA fragments. Amplification of the DNApol and DNAtopo genes yielded fragments of 543 and 344 base pairs, respectively. DNA sequence and phylogenetic analysis of each gene fragment from the gazelle isolate showed >97% identity in BLAST searches with two DPV virus strains (W848-83 and W-1170-84) isolated from North American mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in 1983–1984. Neighbor-joining trees indicate that the isolate is a member of the Cervidpoxvirus genus and shows a more-distant relationship to other ruminant poxviruses, namely the Capripoxvirus genus consisting of lumpy skin disease, sheeppox, and goatpox viruses. This report documents the premiere finding of DPV, a recently characterized virus, in gazelles and demonstrates the need for broadened investigation when diagnosing poxvirus infections in ruminants.
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