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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2003 Mar;15(2):179-83.

Caprine herpesvirus-2 in association with naturally occurring malignant catarrhal fever in captive sika deer (Cervus nippon).

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Department of Veterinary Sciences and Microbiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


Three female sika deer from a single captive herd were submitted for postmortem examination over a 139-day period. The first 2 deer submitted were reported to have lost body mass for 20 days to 1 month before euthanasia. One of these deer had diarrhea, the other had a crusting dermatitis on the nasal planum and inner aspects of both pinnae. The third hind did not have any signs of disease before it was found seizuring and was immediately euthanatized. Microscopically, all 3 animals had a lymphocytic vasculitis typical of malignant catarrhal fever (MCF), with the most severe lesions in the brain. All 3 deer were polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positive for caprine herpesvirus 2 (CpHV-2) and were negative for ovine herpesvirus 2 (OHV-2). Two healthy goats that were housed adjacent to the deer were also PCR positive for CpHV-2 and PCR negative for OHV-2. The CpHV-2, PCR amplicons from the hinds, and the 2 healthy goats had an identical single base polymorphism. A male sika deer that was housed with the hinds and a fawn from 1 of the hinds remained asymptomatic and were PCR negative for CpHV-2. This represents the first report of mortality with MCF-like lesions in association with CpHV-2.

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