Prototype strains of four California group arboviruses were subcutaneously inoculated into 26 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Subsequent viremia and antibody data were the criteria used to evaluate deer as natural hosts and/or indicators for La Crosse (LAC), Trivittatus (TVT), snowshoe hare (SSH), and Jamestown Canyon (JC) viruses. Viremia was detected in 7 of 11 deer inoculated with LAC virus, 1 of 3 with TVT virus, 0 of 3 with SSH virus, and 8 of 9 with JC virus. Viremia with LAC and TVT viruses were of low titer and short duration (1 day), while JC virus viremia persisted for 4 to 5 days, with a peak titer of 3.4 Log10 SMICLD50/0.02 ml. Detectable tissue culture neutralization (TCN) antibodies to the homologous virus persisted for at least 90 days in 9 of 10 surviving deer inoculated with LAC virus, 1 of 3 with TVT virus, 0 of 3 with SSH virus, and 8 of 8 with JC virus. The sera reacted in highest titers to the homologous viruses, and highest titered cross-reactions were noted following LAC virus inoculation. It was concluded that white-tailed deer could be natural hosts for JC virus, and may serve as useful indicators for JC and LAC virus activity in nature.
Present address: Dean, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, Wisconsin 54481.