An outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus, serotype 2 (EHDV-2) was responsible for localized white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) mortality in Hardy and Hampshire counties, West Virginia (USA), in the summer and fall of 1993. Using available historical data on regional herd immunity, data opportunistically collected during the epizootic, and postepizootic sampling of hunter-harvested deer, we grossly estimate certain epidemiologic parameters and compare findings to a hypothesis about hemorrhagic disease outbreaks in the Appalachian Mountains. During the epizootic, 57.9 km2 were actively searched and 228 dead deer were found. Epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus, serotype 2 was isolated from seven of nine deer sampled in Hardy and Hampshire counties. Preepizootic exposure of deer to EHD viruses was unknown, but available data suggest that it was negligible. The geographic distribution of the outbreak was defined by plotting the locations of dead deer found during the outbreak, as well as the locations of deer harvested by hunters after the outbreak that had antibodies to EHDV-2 on a map sectioned into 16.65 km2 rectangular sections. Sections that included one or more dead deer or hunter-harvested deer with antibodies to EHDV-2 were included in the defined outbreak area. Postoutbreak sampling revealed monospecific EHDV-2 antibodies in 12% of deer harvested by hunters within the defined outbreak area. Based on the available data and accepting certain assumptions, gross calculations suggest that this outbreak appears to have been isolated and probably killed a high percentage of the deer that were infected. This is consistent with the hypothesis that sporadic hemorrhagic disease outbreaks in the Appalachian Mountains are usually localized and severe.
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Vol. 40 • No. 3