West Nile Virus and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Co-Infection in a Novel Host at the Nashville Zoo

Abelardo Moncayo, Thomas Moore, Nathen Bopp, Heather Robertson, Margarita Woc Colburn, Diana Fernandez, Steve Widen, Justin Stilwell, Rita McManamon, John Dunn, Patricia Aguilar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On August 30, 2017, one of five bontebok in a mixed-species exhibit at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere exhibited acute hind-limb ataxia and altered demeanor. Pathological examination demonstrated meningoencephalitis and spinal myelitis. Coinfection of West Nile virus (WNV) and epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) was revealed by quantitative real-time and traditional reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction assays and virus isolation/whole genome sequencing from brain tissue, respectively. Whole genome sequencing was conducted for EHDV. Mosquito testing from September 19 to October 13, 2017, demonstrated a higher WNV infection rate in mosquitoes at the zoo compared with the rest of Nashville-Davidson County. EHDV is endemic in wild white-tailed deer (family Cervidae) in Tennessee, and the prevalence in wildlife depends on environmental influences. This case illustrates the potential susceptibility of exotic zoo animals to endemic domestic arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) and reinforces the importance of cooperative antemortem and postmortem surveillance strategies among human, wildlife, and domestic animal health agencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-711
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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