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On August 30, 2017, one of five bontebok in a mixed-species exhibit at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere exhibited acute hind-limb ataxia and altered demeanor. Pathological examination demonstrated meningoencephalitis and spinal myelitis. Coinfection of West Nile virus (WNV) and epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) was revealed by quantitative real-time and traditional reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction assays and virus isolation/whole genome sequencing from brain tissue, respectively. Whole genome sequencing was conducted for EHDV. Mosquito testing from September 19 to October 13, 2017, demonstrated a higher WNV infection rate in mosquitoes at the zoo compared with the rest of Nashville-Davidson County. EHDV is endemic in wild white-tailed deer (family Cervidae) in Tennessee, and the prevalence in wildlife depends on environmental influences. This case illustrates the potential susceptibility of exotic zoo animals to endemic domestic arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) and reinforces the importance of cooperative antemortem and postmortem surveillance strategies among human, wildlife, and domestic animal health agencies.
Financial support: Thomas Moore was supported by the Infectious Disease Fellowship Program administered by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and funded by the CDC.
Authors’ addresses: Abelardo Moncayo, Thomas Moore, and John Dunn, Tennessee Department of Health, Nashville, TN, E-mails: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com. Nathan Bopp, Diana Fernandez, Steve Widen, and Patricia Aguilar, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com. Heather Robertson and Margarita Woc Colburn, Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, TN, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Justin Stilwell and Rita McManamon, Infectious Diseases Laboratory and Department of Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.