Submitted to: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/9/2007
Publication Date: 10/1/2007
Citation: Ridpath, J.F., Mark, C., Chase, C.L., Ridpath, A.C., Neill, J.D. 2007. Febrile response and decrease in circulating lymphocytes following acute infection of white tail deer fawns with either a BVDV1 or a BVDV2 strain. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 43(4):653-659. Interpretive Summary: Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is considered the most economically important virus infecting cattle in the U.S. Because of the level of economic damage caused by BVDV infections, there is a grass roots movement in the U.S. aimed at reducing the number BVDV outbreaks occurring in cattle. However, BVDV does not infect just cattle. It infects a number of wildlife species, particularly deer. Deer numbers in the U.S. are increasing and contact between domestic cattle and deer is common. The goal of this study was to determine if BVDV causes a similar disease to that seen in cattle and if deer could be significant contributors in the spread and circulation of the virus. To this end, deer with infected with either one of the two species of BVDV virus present in the U.S. The deer, infected with either BVDV species, got sick and shed virus in ways very similar to cattle. These finding suggest that deer could contribute to the circulation of BVDV in cattle populations.
Technical Abstract: While commonly associated with infection in cattle, bovine viral diarrhea viruses (BVDV) also replicate in a wide range of domestic and wildlife species including cervids. BVDV has been isolated from a number of cervids including mule deer, German roe deer, Scottish deer, white tail deer and mouse deer, but little information is available regarding clinical presentation and progression of infection in these species. In preliminary studies of experimental infection of deer with BVDV, researchers noted seroconversion but no clinical signs. In this study we infected white tail deer fawns, negative for BVDV and antibodies against BVDV, with either a type 1 or a type 2 BVDV that had been isolated from deer. Fawns were monitored for changes in basal temperature, circulating lymphocytes and platelets. The clinical progression following inoculation in these fawns was similar to that seen with BVDV infections in cattle and included fever and depletion of circulating lymphocytes. Because free ranging cervid populations are frequently in contact with domestic cattle in the U.S., possible transfer of BVDV between cattle and cervids has significant implications for proposed BVDV control programs.