Vaccine Field Trial For Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus in Farmed White-Tailed Deer in Florida

Yasmin Tavares

Authors:  Yasmin Tavares, Olivia Goodfriend, Zoe White, Juan M. Campos Krauer, Brandon Parker, William Wilson, Jurgen A. Richt, Dr. Samantha M. Wisely

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Samantha M. Wisely

College:  College of Agricultural and Life Sciences


Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (EHDV) impacts deer and livestock operations globally. In this study, we tested mono-, bi-, and tri-valent vaccines for three serotypes of EHDV in farmed white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Florida. We compared serological status and antibody titers from 39 previously unvaccinated white-tailed deer at three time points. Seven animals were 14 weeks old and 32 individuals were 15 months of age. At day 0, we injected the first dose and collected blood samples; at day 14, we injected a booster and collected blood samples; and at day 33, we collected a final blood sample. We found low titer levels on days 0 and 14, with some outliers. By day 33, most animals in the treatment group responded with a high titer of homologous antibody. Animals injected with a placebo did not show a similar response. At day 33, the difference between treatment and placebo group titers and number of animals that were seropositive were significantly different. We found no difference in titer levels for vaccines when they were administered as mono-, bi- or tri-valent forms. During the course of this study 4 animals died of natural EHDV infection, but none of them received a full vaccine dose. Homologous antibody responses of deer and opportunistic challenge with naturally occurring EHDV suggest that this vaccine may stimulate the immune system sufficiently to protect individuals.

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20 Responses
    1. Hi Yan!

      Thank you so much! The titer increased in later time points because the animals were given a booster for the vaccine, which helped building up their immune system.

  1. Keara Clancy

    Hi Yasmin!

    Great presentation. Is the vaccinate targeted specifically towards farmed deer, or is there hope to use it for wild deer in the future to reduce overall instance of the virus?

    1. Hi Keara,

      Thank you for your question! We do hope to use it for wild deer in the future as well as in farmed deer since we also see wild deer dying of EHDV in Florida. The vaccine however, would not be free of cost, limiting access to the wild deer communities.

  2. Destiny Cardentey

    Hi Yasmin! This was so interesting, how can you test to find out why they developed sores? Great job! 😀

    1. Hi Destiny,

      Thank you so much! We could develop another study with different groups receiving the vaccines in different areas of their body. Also, changing the concentration of the respective adjuvants. Does that make sense?

  3. Hi everyone,

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  4. Brandon Parker

    I know Blue-tongue virus is another super important virus for farmed white tailed deer. Did you test the 4 deer that died for this pathogen?

    1. Hi Brandon,

      Thank you for your question! Once an animal dies, we do test them for both EHDV and BV (blue-tongue virus). And those 4 deer from this study were positive for EHDV only.

  5. Doc W,

    Thank you so much! EHDV as well as other diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease and West Nile Virus bring some challenge for the deer farm industry in Wisconsin. We are in desperate need for good vaccines to this field.