Postmortem detection of bluetongue and epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses in the bone marrow of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

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© Wildlife Disease Association 2020. We determined the temporal aspects of detecting bluetongue virus (BTV) and epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) in postmortem bone marrow samples of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) using molecular and in vitro cell culture techniques. Bone marrow samples from carcasses were collected and assayed on the day of death and at intervals up to 16 wk after death. We recovered BTV and EHDV from fresh bone marrow collected at day 0 by isolation in Vero and BHK-21 cell cultures. However, attempts to replicate the viruses from aged bone marrow in Vero and BHK-21 cell cultures failed. The real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) results confirmed that EHDV and BTV can be detected in aged bone marrow for up to 12 and 16 wk, respectively, after death. The RNA of BTV and EHDV could be detected by qRT-PCR in white-tailed deer bone marrow for extended periods of time postmortem. This technique will provide a useful tool for retrospective determination of BTV or EHDV infection of white-tailed deer at the time of death.

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Journal of Wildlife Diseases

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