Viral diseases of northern ungulates


  • K. Frölich



northern ungulates, holarctic, cervid, moose, muskoxen, reindeer, viral disease


This paper describes viral diseases reported in northern ungulates and those that are a potential threat to these species. The following diseases are discussed: bovine viral diarrhoea/mucosal disease (BVD/MD), alphaherpesvirus infections, malignant catarrhal fever (MCF), poxvirus infections, parainfluenza type 3 virus infection, Alvsborg disease, foot-and-mouth disease, epizootic haemorrhage disease of deer and bluetongue disease, rabies, respiratory syncytial virus infection, adenovirus infection, hog-cholera, Aujeszky's disease and equine herpesvirus infections. There are no significant differences in antibody prevalence to BVDV among deer in habitats with high, intermediate and low density of cattle. In addition, sequence analysis from the BVDV isolated from roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) showed that this strain was unique within BVDV group I. Distinct BVDV strains might circulate in free-ranging roe deer populations in Germany and virus transmission may be independent of domestic livestock. Similar results have been obtained in a serological survey of alpha-herpesviruses in deer in Germany. Malignant catarrhal fever was studied in fallow deer (Cervus dama) in Germany: the seroprevalence and positive PCR results detected in sheep originating from the same area as the antibody-positive deer might indicate that sheep are the main reservoir animals. Contagious ecthyma (CE) is a common disease in domestic sheep and goats caused by the orf virus. CE has been diagnosed in Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus), Dall sheep (Ovis dalli), chamois (Rupkapra rupi-capra), muskox {Ovibos moschatus) and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). Most parainfluenza type 3 virus infections are mild or clinically undetectable. Serological surveys in wildlife have been successfully conducted in many species. In 1985, a new disease was identified in Swedish moose (Alces alces), designated as Alvsborg disease. This wasting syndrome probably has a multi-factorial etiology. Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) can infect deer and many other wild artiodactyls. Moose, roe deer and the saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica) are the main hosts of FMDV in the Russian Federation. In addition, serological evidence of a FMD infection without clinical disease was detected in red deer in France. Epizootic haemorrhage disease of deer (EHD) and bluetongue (BT) are acute non-contagious viral diseases of wild ruminants characterised by extensive haemorrhage. Culicoides insects are the main vectors. EHD and BT only play a minor role in Europe but both diseases are widespread in North America.




How to Cite

Frölich, K. (2000). Viral diseases of northern ungulates. Rangifer, 20(2-3), 83–97.