Hemorrhagic disease in North America is caused by multiple serotypes of epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) and bluetongue virus (BTV). Diagnostic tests for detection of EHDV and BTV include virus isolation (VI), reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR, and real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR). Our objective was to compare the diagnostic capabilities of three rRT-PCR protocols for detection of EHDV and BTV from naturally infected white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). We compared the effectiveness of these assays to traditional viral detection methods (e.g., VI) for historic and current clinical cases. Because of the variable nature of tissue collection and storage before diagnostic testing, an evaluation of viral persistence on multiple freeze-thaw events was also conducted. Two of the rRT-PCR assays provided for reliable detection of EHDV and BTV from 100% of clinically affected and VI-confirmed infected animals. Additionally, no significant change in viral titer was observed on multiple freeze-thaw events.
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Vol. 53 • No. 4