Volume 99, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Heartland virus (HRTV) is a North American suspected to be transmitted by the lone star tick . White-tailed deer (WTD) have been shown to develop HRTV-neutralizing antibodies following experimental infection. To further define the geographic distribution of HRTV through retrospective sampling of WTD, sera from the WTD herd health serum archive at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study between 2001 and 2015 were analyzed using serum neutralization. Of 783 serum samples tested, 57 (7.3%) were positive for HRTV-neutralizing antibodies. Deer with moderate to heavy tick burdens were more likely seropositive. Seropositive samples were obtained from deer originating from states with documented human cases of HRTV-associated disease. Seropositive samples were identified from years before the recognition of the first human case in 2009. Overall, this study indicates that WTD in the southeastern United States have been exposed to HRTV as early as 2001 and that the presence of seropositive animals corresponds roughly with reported human HRTV-associated disease.


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  • Received : 09 Jul 2018
  • Accepted : 17 Aug 2018
  • Published online : 24 Sep 2018
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