Serologic Survey of Mosquito-Borne Viruses in Hunter-Harvested White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), New York State

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  • 1 New York State Department of Health, The Arbovirus Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, Slingerlands, New York;
  • 2 New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, Albany, New York;
  • 3 New York State Department of Health, Central New York Regional Office, Syracuse, New York;
  • 4 Division of Vector Control, Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Yaphank, New York;
  • 5 Department of Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Albany School of Public Health, Albany, New York

Sera from white-tailed deer (WTD, Odocoileus virginianus) hunter-harvested throughout New York State (NYS), 2007–2015, were tested by plaque reduction neutralization for antibodies against nine mosquito-borne viruses from the families Peribunyaviridae, Flaviviridae, and Togaviridae. Overall, 76.1% (373/490) of sampled WTD were seropositive against at least one virus, and 38.8% were exposed to multiple viruses. The seropositivity rate in adult WTD (78.0%) was significantly greater (P < 0.0001) than that in fawns (47.7%). Neutralizing antibodies against California serogroup viruses were most common in WTD sampled across all regions (67.1%), followed by the Bunyamwera serogroup (BUN) (37.6%). Jamestown Canyon and Cache Valley orthobunyaviruses were responsible for most California and BUN infections, respectively. Seroprevalence rates to West Nile virus were higher in samples originating from Long Island (LI) (19.0%) than in those originating from the central (7.3%), western (5.0%), and Hudson Valley (4.4%) regions of NYS. Antibodies to Eastern equine encephalitis virus were seen primarily in WTD from central NYS (5.1%), where annual enzootic activity occurs, but low rates were documented in western NYS (1.4%) and LI (1.7%). Low rates of Potosi and LaCrosse orthobunyavirus, and Highlands J virus antibodies were detected over the course of this investigation. St. Louis encephalitis virus (or a closely related virus) antibodies were detected in samples collected from central and western NYS, suggesting local virus transmission despite a lack of evidence from routine mosquito surveillance. Serologic results demonstrate the value of WTD in NYS as an indicator of arbovirus distribution and recent transmission on a relatively fine spatial scale.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Alan P. Dupuis, New York State Department of Health, The Arbovirus Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, 5668 State Farm Rd., Slingerlands, NY 12159. E-mail: alan.dupuis@health.ny.gov

Financial support: This work was supported by the NYSDOH, Wadsworth Center, and by grant AI142572 from the National Institutes of Health.

Authors’ addresses: Alan P. Dupuis, Joseph G. Maffei, and Laura D. Kramer, New York State Department of Health, The Arbovirus Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, Slingerlands, NY, E-mails: alan.dupuis@health.ny.gov, joseph.maffei@health.ny.gov, and laura.kramer@health.ny.gov. Melissa A. Prusinski, Alexis Russell, Collin O’Connor, Keith Tober, and Bryon Backenson, New York State Department of Health, Vector Ecology Laboratory, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, Albany, NY, E-mails: melissa.prusinski@health.ny.gov, alexis.russell@health.ny.gov, collin.oconnor@health.ny.gov, keithjtober@yahoo.com, and bryon.backenson@health.ny.gov. JoAnne Oliver, John J. Howard, and James A. Sherwood, New York State Department of Health, Central New York Regional Office, Syracuse, NY, E-mails: joanne.oliver@health.ny.gov, john.j.howard@health.ny.gov, and james.sherwood@health.ny.gov. Ilia Rochlin and Moses Cucura, Division of Vector Control, Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Yaphank, NY, E-mails: ilia.rochlin@suffolkcountyny.gov and moses.cucura@suffolkcountyny.gov.

These authors contributed equally to this work.

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