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Date of this Version



Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 25(6) 709– 719; DOI: 10.1177/1040638713503654


Bluetongue virus (BTV) and Epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) possess similar structural and molecular features, are transmitted by biting midges (genus Culicoides), and cause similar diseases in some susceptible ruminants. Generally, BTV causes subclinical disease in cattle, characterized by a prolonged viremia. EHDV-associated disease in cattle is less prominent; however, it has emerged as a major economic threat to the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) industry in many areas of the United States. The recent emergence of multiple BTV and EHDV serotypes previously undetected in the United States demonstrates the need for robust detection of all known serotypes and differential diagnosis. For this purpose, a streamlined workflow consisting of an automated nucleic acid purification and denaturation method and a multiplex one-step reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction for the simultaneous detection of BTV serotypes 1–24 and EHDV serotypes 1–7 was developed using previously published BTV and EHDV assays. The denaturation of double-stranded (ds) BTV and EHDV RNA was incorporated into the automated nucleic acid purification process thus eliminating the commonly used separate step of dsRNA denaturation. The performance of this workflow was compared with the World Organization of Animal Health BTV reference laboratory (National Veterinary Services Laboratory, Ames, Iowa) workflow for BTV and EHDV detection, and high agreement was observed. Implementation of the workflow in routine diagnostic testing enables the detection of, and differentiation between, BTV and EHDV, and coinfections in bovine blood and cervine tissues, offering significant benefits in terms of differential disease diagnosis, herd health monitoring, and regulated testing.