We compared our recently reported reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay for detection of epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) in clinical samples with different virus isolation (VI) procedures. Thirty-six blood samples and 1 spleen sample from deer were assessed by the EHDV PCR assay and VI in baby hamster kidney (BHK)-21 cells and embryonated chicken eggs (ECE). The E.H.D.V PCR assay detected EHDV RNA from 6 blood samples obtained from deer during 1988–1989 outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease and from the spleen and blood samples of a deer with clinical hemorrhagic disease in 1992. The 6 blood samples from the 1988–1989 outbreaks and the spleen sample from the 1992 case were VI positive on BHK-21 cell culture. The blood from the same deer with the PCR- and VI-positive spleen was VI negative in BHK-21 cells and ECE. All E.H.D.V isolates were identified as EHDV serotype 2 by a plaque inhibition test. The results of this study indicate that the sensitivity of the previously described EHDV PCR assay is comparable to or greater than that of the VI method in BHK-21 cell culture or ECE. The E.H.D.V PCR assays could provide a superior diagnostic alternative to the current cumbersome and time-consuming VI procedures.
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