A population of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) resides throughout the island of St. John, US Virgin Islands, predominately in the Virgin Islands National Park. Adult deer (n=23), ranging from 1 yr to 8 yr old, were assessed to characterize body condition and health. Serologic samples were screened for important viral pathogens in the area, including Zika, chikungunya, bluetongue, and epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses. Samples were collected in July 2016; males were in velvet and all females were in diestrus. Deer had recovered from a severe drought the previous year but were generally healthy, with a low-level but high incidence of tick parasitism. Marked statistically significant changes in hematocrit and hemoglobin levels were associated with the effects of the anesthetic mixture used for capture. No other statistically significant differences were observed. Serum from four deer induced reduction in Zika virus plaques, suggesting possible exposure. No serum was reactive for chikungunya virus. Bluetongue and epizootic hemorrhagic disease antibodies were present in 50% of the sampled deer, but no clinical signs associated with disease were observed during the study period. These data will be valuable for future dynamic health assessment and may help assess changes to the population, such as those induced by climate change, infectious disease, or other demographic events.
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Vol. 54 • No. 4