In vitro and in vivo infections were conducted to determine if the epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) and bluetongue (BT) viruses would replicate in peripheral blood mononuclear (PBM) cells of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). All of the North American EHD and BT viruses (EHD virus serotypes 1 and 2, and BT virus serotypes 2, 10, 11, 13, and 17) replicated in vitro in cultures of white-tailed deer PBM cells. However, this replication appeared to be monocyte-dependent and was not enhanced by lymphocyte blastogenesis induced by the addition of concanavalin A. In white-tailed deer infected with either EHD virus serotype 2 or BT virus serotype 10, virus could be isolated consistendy from PBM cells only from postinfection day 4 through 8, although they remained viremic through post-infection day 21. In deer, highest viral titers were associated with the erythrocyte fraction, and in no cases did viral titers detected in the platelet, PBM cell or polymorphonuclear cell fractions approach titers observed in whole blood. In the in vitro infections of white-tailed deer erythrocytes, the EHD and BT viruses were associated with pits in the erythrocyte membrane. This association may be important in the long-term viremia observed in deer.
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Vol. 33 • No. 3