Adenovirus hemorrhagic disease affects primarily mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni), and moose (Alces alces) in their first year of life. The method by which the causative virus, Deer atadenovirus A, is maintained in the environment and transmitted to neonates is unknown. In this study, we investigated the potential transmission of the virus from dam to offspring in Rocky Mountain mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus) and elk in western Wyoming, US. We sampled dams before parturition during placement of vaginal implant transmitters and at parturition and sampled neonates during capture in their first days of life. We also tested for the virus in mortalities submitted for pathologic examination and laboratory analysis. We detected viral DNA in samples from all time points tested but did not find a connection between positive dams and offspring mortalities associated with adenovirus hemorrhagic disease. Although we did not find direct evidence of transmission events between dams and offspring, asymptomatic animals shedding of Deer atadenovirus A, are a likely source of infection in neonates.

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