Identification of the bacterial fauna associated with the skin, nasal mucosa, and tongue of Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer) may provide some insight into deer health and potential risks for humans from contact with deer. Few bacterial surveys have investigated White-tailed Deer, despite the commonality of human—deer interactions. From October to December 2011, we collected swab samples from the forehead, nose, and tongue of 39 hunter-harvested White-tailed Deer in Georgia. We inoculated and incubated agar plates for 48 h at 35 °C and identified the isolated bacterial colonies to genus using the bioMerieux Vitek 2 system. We amplified and sequenced portions of the 16s ribosomal-RNA gene, and used the products to identify 60 species of bacteria, including 342 Gram-positive isolates and 93 Gram-negative isolates. Although most species isolated from White-tailed Deer were nonpathogenic environmental bacteria, good hygiene is recommended when handling these animals.
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Vol. 15 • No. 3