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Serological survey of wild cervids in England and Wales for bovine viral diarrhoea virus
  1. Jo Hardstaff1,
  2. Hannah Hunt2,
  3. Laura Tugwell2,
  4. Carole Thomas2,
  5. Laila Elattar2,
  6. Joe Brownlie2 and
  7. Richard Booth2
  1. 1Institute of Population Health Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2Pathobiology and Population Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Richard Booth; rbooth{at}


Background Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) is a production disease commonly found in British cattle herds. Species other than cattle have been shown to be infected with the virus, thereby providing a potential source of infection for livestock. This study surveyed serum samples taken from 596 culled wild deer from England and Wales, between 2009 and 2010, for the presence of BVD antibodies.

Methods 596 samples were tested with the SVANOVIR BVDV p80-Ab ELISA and a subset of 64 were tested with the IDEXX BVDV p80-Ab ELISA. ELISA results were confirmed using serum neutralisation tests.

Results 2/596 samples (0.35 per cent) tested positive for BVD antibodies using the Svanova test and one of these tested positive and the other inconclusive using the IDEXX test; both were confirmed positive with serum neutralisation tests. These were both red deer stags, one from Devon and the other from East Anglia.

Conclusions The results indicate that it is unlikely that BVD virus is widely circulating within the wild deer population and particularly unlikely that persistently infected deer are present in the populations surveyed. These results suggest that wild deer are unlikely to be a significant reservoir of BVD infection in cattle.

  • bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV)
  • deer
  • infectious diseases
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  • Funding This study was funded by Royal Veterinary College—Internal Grant Scheme.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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