Deer Pathology

An economically important pathogen of domestic bovids, bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), and a zoonotic pathogen classified as a potential agent of bioterrorism, Coxiella burnetii, have both been reported in wild white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Approximately 77% of livestock pathogens are generalist species that infect multiple hosts and approximately 73% of human emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases of the last two decades include at least one wildlife host. Thus, the need for baseline information regarding the status of both livestock and zoonotic pathogens in commonly encountered wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, has been recognized.

Project Title: The Prevalence, Distribution, and Spatial Epidemiology of Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus and Coxiella burnetii in White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

This research project aims to assess whether white-tailed deer may be considered a BVDV reservoir species for domestic livestock and to determine areas of high hunter-risk of exposure to C. burnetii.

Location: Various sampling locations within central New York and Pennsylvania, USA

Timeline: 2009 – 2013

Field participants:
Pennsylvania Game Commission, approximately 70 undergraduate students from SUNY-ESF

Principal Investigators:
Megan S. Kirchgessner, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY USA
Christopher M. Whipps, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY USA

Edna B. Sussman Foundation, Sigma Xi (grant ID number G20101015153851)

Megan S. Kirchgessner, Ph.D. Candidate
Fisheries and Wildlife Biology and Management
SUNY-ESF, 1 Forestry Drive, 244 Illick Hall
Syracuse, New York 13210 USA

Christopher M. Whipps, Assistant Professor
SUNY-ESF, 246 Illick Hall
Syracuse, New York 13210 USA