To determine the susceptibility of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to California encephalitis virus (CEV), four captive deer were experimentally exposed by different routes and the clinical, virological and serological responses recorded. None of the four deer developed a detectable viremia or clinical signs of disease. One deer exposed sub-cutaneously and one exposed intravenously developed circulating antibody which persisted; the deer exposed intranasally and orally did not. Re-challenge of a deer with detectable antibody resulted in a typical anamnestic antibody response. The significance of CEV to deer and the possibility of utilizing deer as sentinels for CEV monitoring are discussed.
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