In order to determine whether elk (Cervus elaphus) could be infected with and shed bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) and to determine whether BVDV could cause disease in elk, two groups of five yearling elk each and two control cattle were experimentally inoculated intra-nasally with type 1 Singer strain or a virulent type 2 isolate of BVDV, strain 24515. Virulence of the type 2 isolate was confirmed by inoculation of a control bovine cow which developed diarrhea, dehydration, severe thrombocytopenia, hemorrhages, and enteritis with intestinal necrosis. None of the elk inoculated with type 1 or type 2 BVDV developed clinical signs of illness. However, all elk became infected as demonstrated by viremia, nasal shedding, and/or seroconversion. One uninoculated, in-contact elk contracted type 1 BVDV and seroconverted. Thus, although BVDV does not appear capable of producing disease in nonpregnant elk, the species is susceptible to infection and can shed and transmit BVDV.
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Vol. 35 • No. 4