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West Nile Virus Exposure in Black Bears of Northeastern Wisconsin

Christopher J. Katz, Scott C. Anderson, Robert W. Howe, Andrew R. Hinickle, Nicole T. Waliszewski, Stacy A. Nye and Aaron M. Wunderlin
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 71, No. 2 (Apr., 2007), pp. 634-636
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4495226
Page Count: 3
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West Nile Virus Exposure in Black Bears of Northeastern Wisconsin
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Abstract

Knowledge of the distribution and pathology of West Nile virus (WNV) in black bears is a necessary tool that allows wildlife managers to implement a management plan, set harvest quotas, and relocate nuisance bears. We studied the presence and significance ofWNV titers in free-roaming black bears (Ursus americanus) in northeastern Wisconsin between February 2003 and March 2005. Serum neutralizing antibodies to WNV, with confirmation by plaque-reduction neutralization test to both WNV and Saint Louis encephalitis, identified exposure in 13 of 74 (17.6%) bears. This compares with a 6% infection rate in black bears in Virginia and 22% in European brown bears (Ursus arctos). Pathologic effects from exposure to WNV were not seen in any of the black bears studied.

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