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  • Author or Editor: Mitchell V. Palmer x
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Objective—To inoculate white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) during the sixth or seventh week of gestation with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) and observe for signs of reproductive tract disease during a 182-day period.

Animals—10 pregnant white-tailed deer (8 seronegative and 2 seropositive [control deer] for BVDV).

Procedures—Deer were inoculated with 1 of 2 deer-derived BVDV strains (RO3-20663 or RO3-24272). Serum anti-BVDV antibody titers were determined prior to and 21 or 35 days after inoculation. Virus isolation (VI) procedures were performed on tissues from fetuses and does that died and on blood samples collected from live fawns. Ear notch specimens obtained from live fawns were assessed by use of BVDV antigen-capture ELISA (ACE).

Results—Both RO3-20663–inoculated seropositive deer gave birth to apparently normal fawns. Among the RO3-24272–inoculated seronegative deer, 1 died, and 1 aborted and 1 resorbed their fetuses; among the RO3-20663–inoculated seronegative deer, 3 died, 1 aborted its fetus, and 1 gave birth to 2 fawns that were likely persistently infected. On the basis of VI and ACE results, those 2 fawns were positive for BVDV; both had no detectable neutralizing anti-BVDV antibodies in serum.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Reproductive tract disease that developed in pregnant white-tailed deer following BVDV inoculation was similar to that which develops in BVDV-exposed cattle. Methods developed for BVDV detection in cattle (VI, immunohistochemical evaluations, and ACE) can be applied in assessments of white-tailed deer. Fawns from does that had serum anti-BVDV antibodies prior to inoculation were protected against BVDV infection in utero.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To develop a noninvasive biomarker-based detection system specific for Mycobacterium bovis for monitoring infection in wild animals.

SAMPLE Serum samples from 8 experimentally infected yearling white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and 3 age-matched control deer and from 393 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources hunter-harvested white-tailed deer in northwest Minnesota.

PROCEDURES 8 yearling deer were inoculated with 2 × 108 CFUs of virulent M bovis strain 1315 (day 0), and sera were obtained on days 0, 19, 48, and 60; sera were obtained from 3 uninoculated control deer on those same days. Sera from these deer and 9 M bovis-positive hunter-harvested deer were tested for 3 Mycobacterium-specific biomarkers (MB1895c, MB2515c, and polyketide synthase 5) by use of an indirect ELISA. That same ELISA was used to test sera obtained from 384 exposed noninfected deer in northwest Minnesota from 2007 through 2010, concurrent with an outbreak of tuberculosis involving cattle and deer in that region.

RESULTS ELISA results revealed that tuberculosis infection could be detected as early as 48 days after inoculation in experimentally infected deer. Results for 384 deer sera revealed that prevalence of tuberculosis decreased over the 4-year period.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that the prevalence of tuberculosis in Minnesota deer decreased after 2009 but tuberculosis may have persisted (as subclinical disease) at extremely low levels, as indicated by the presence of low concentrations of circulating biomarkers. Biomarker-based diagnostic tests may offer a specific approach for early identification of M bovis infection.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research