Vaccine for Lethal Deer Virus Shows Promise (Feedstuffs)

Vaccine for Lethal Deer Virus Shows Promise

A viral disease that affects deer around the country can be devastating, but a vaccine shows promise for the $8 billion per year deer farming industry, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).

The disease, epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), is the leading cause of herd losses for deer farmers. In some cases, 15,000-20,000 deer can die from EHDV in one season, according to Samantha Wisely, professor and director of the IFAS Cervidae Health Research Initiative (CHeRI). Typically, the disease is managed with pesticides that reduce the midge population that causes the disease, but this is not guaranteed to eradicate the disease.

“The vaccine has changed how we look at this disease,” Wisely said. “We finished vaccine testing here in Florida last year and found it to be efficacious. Another vaccine is in development to be released next year, and we look forward to both of these vaccines becoming licensed for use in farmed deer. These are complicated pathogens, and having more researchers working on resources to prevent outbreaks will help us manage EHDV and, ultimately, really help the industry.”

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