Article

Serosurvey for selected viral infections in freeranging jaguars (Panthera Onca) and domestic carnivores in Brazilian Cerrado, Pantanal, and Amazon

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Abstract

We investigated the exposure of jaguar (Panthera onca) populations and domestic carnivores to selected viral infections in the Cerrado, Amazon, and Pantanal biomes of Brazil. Between February 2000 and January 2010, we collected serum samples from 31 jaguars, 174 dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), and 35 domestic cats (Felis catus). Serologic analyses for antibodies to rabies virus, canine distemper virus (CDV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) antigen were conducted. The jaguars from Cerrado and Pantantal were exposed to rabies virus, while the jaguars from the Pantanal and the dogs from all three areas were exposed to CDV. Two cats from the Amazonian site were antigen-positive for FeLV, but no jaguars had FeLV antigen or FIV antibody. Canine distemper and rabies viruses should be carefully monitored and considered potential threats to these jaguar populations. Currently FIV and FeLV do not appear to represent a health threat for jaguar populations in this area. Domestic dogs and cats in these areas should be vaccinated, and the movement of domestic animals around protected areas should be restricted.

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... CDV has been responsible for significant population declines in free-ranging carnivores such as black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) in the United States (Williams et al. 1988), African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in Kenya (Alexander and Appel 1994) and lions (Panthera leo) in the Serengeti (Roelke-Parker et al. 1996). In Brazil, exposure to CDV has been reported in free-ranging pumas (Puma concolor), jaguars (Panthera onca), maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus), crab-eating foxes (Cerdocyon thous), ocelots (Leopadus pardalis) and raccoons (Procyon cancrivorus ) (Jorge 2008; Nava et al. 2008; Curi et al. 2012; Furtado et al. 2013). Parvovirus was responsible for a pandemic among wild wolves and coyotes in the late 1970s in the United States (Thomas et al. 1984; Mech and Goyal 1993; Gese et al. 1997; Mech et al. 2008). ...
... Neither test has been validated for use in wild carnivores because of potential inaccuracy or cross-reaction with other agents (Greiner and Gardner 2000). Currently, there are no serological tests validated for the wild carnivores sampled in our study, but the tests developed for domestic dogs and cats are widely used in the testing of wild vores (Malmlov et al. 2014; Orozco et al. 2014a, b; Nelson et al. 2012; Curi et al. 2012; Furtado et al. 2013; Nava et al. 2008; Fiorello et al. 2007; Deem and Emmons 2005). ...
... As we used serodiagnosis, we cannot discard the possibility of false positives due to cross-reaction with other agents and nonspecific inhibition. However, the test used in this study is widely used in wild carnivores worldwide (Curi et al. 2010Curi et al. , 2012 Nava et al. 2008; Deem and Emmons 2005; Fiorello et al. 2007; Orozco et al. 2014a, b; Gehrt et al. 2010; Furtado et al. 2013). The pattern of CDV seroprevalence along the years suggests a discrete outbreak: after its absence in 2003, it reaches a peak, declines and disappears from the wild population in 2007. ...
Article
Human population growth around protected areas increases the contact between wild and domestic animals, promoting disease transmission between them. This study investigates the exposure of free-ranging wild carnivores and domestic dogs to canine distemper virus (CDV) and parvovirus in Emas National Park (ENP) in the Cerrado savanna of central Brazil. Serum samples were collected from 169 wild carnivores, including the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous), hoary fox (Pseudalopex vetulus), puma (Puma concolor), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), pampas cat (Leopardus colocolo), jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), striped hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus semistriatus) and coati (Nasua nasua), and from 35 domestic dogs living on rural properties bordering ENP. Serological tests showed that 10.6% of wild carnivores (maned wolves, crab-eating foxes and ocelots) and 71.4% of domestic dogs were exposed to CDV, and 56.8% of wild carnivores, including all species sampled except coatis, and 57.1% of domestic dogs were exposed to parvovirus. This report is the first to indicate that the free-ranging pampas cat, jaguarundi and striped hog-nosed skunk are exposed to parvovirus. CDV and parvovirus deserve attention in ENP, and it is extremely important to monitor the health of carnivore populations and perform molecular diagnosis of the viruses to determine the possible involvement of the domestic dog in their transmission.
... 43 Several surveys of pathogens have been conducted in free-ranging and captive neotropical felids, and epidemiologic surveys are currently being addressed in conservation programs in Brazil. 3,10,14,22,35,41 We investigated the occurrence of FHV-1, CPPV-1, FCV, FCoV, FeLV, FIV, and CDV in free-ranging and captive neotropical felids in Brazil, to better understand the virus circulation in these populations. ...
... CDV, responsible for important outbreaks in big cats, 1,40 was not detected in wild felids in our study. Antibody detection to CDV in free-ranging jaguars was reported previously, 14,35 but fatal cases were not reported. Antibody detection and PCR-negative results may indicate prior exposure to the agent but absence of infection at the time of capture or collection of samples from these individuals. ...
Article
We describe molecular testing for felid alphaherpesvirus 1 (FHV-1), carnivore protoparvovirus 1 (CPPV-1), feline calicivirus (FCV), alphacoronavirus 1 (feline coronavirus [FCoV]), feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and canine distemper virus (CDV) in whole blood samples of 109 free-ranging and 68 captive neotropical felids from Brazil. Samples from 2 jaguars ( Panthera onca) and 1 oncilla ( Leopardus tigrinus) were positive for FHV-1; 2 jaguars, 1 puma ( Puma concolor), and 1 jaguarundi ( Herpairulus yagouaroundi) tested positive for CPPV-1; and 1 puma was positive for FIV. Based on comparison of 103 nucleotides of the UL24-UL25 gene, the FHV-1 sequences were 99-100% similar to the FHV-1 strain of domestic cats. Nucleotide sequences of CPPV-1 were closely related to sequences detected in other wild carnivores, comparing 294 nucleotides of the VP1 gene. The FIV nucleotide sequence detected in the free-ranging puma, based on comparison of 444 nucleotides of the pol gene, grouped with other lentiviruses described in pumas, and had 82.4% identity with a free-ranging puma from Yellowstone Park and 79.5% with a captive puma from Brazil. Our data document the circulation of FHV-1, CPPV-1, and FIV in neotropical felids in Brazil.
... (leishmaniasis), Leptospira interrogans (leptospirosis), Toxoplasma gondii (toxoplasmosis), Neospora caninum (neosporosis), Dirofilaria immitis (dirofilariasis/heartworm disease), Brucella canis (brucellosis), Sarcoptes scabiei (scabies), Echinococcus spp. (echinococcosis), Rickettsia rickettsii (Brazilian spotted fever), different canine viruses (e.g., distemper virus, adenovirus, coronavirus, herpesvirus, parvovirus), rabies virus, among other pathogens, to both humans and wildlife (Craig et al., 1992;Fiorello et al., 2006Fiorello et al., , 2017Dantas-Torres, 2007;Labruna et al., 2007;Pinter et al., 2008;Piranda et al., 2008;Yabsley et al., 2008;Moraes-Filho et al., 2009;Brunetti et al., 2011;Ogrzewalska et al., 2012;Furtado et al., 2013;Millán et al., 2013;Parrish et al., 2015;Basano et al., 2016;Campos et al., 2016;Curi et al., 2016;Doherty et al., 2017;Lessa et al., 2016;Faccini-Martínez et al., 2017). Importantly, dogs are amplifier hosts of different pathogens (Dantas-Torres, 2007;Piranda et al., 2011;Szabó et al., 2013), which means that they can develop infection at sufficient levels to infect other species, such as vectors, increasing the disease transmission (Kilpatrick and Altizer, 2010;Labruna et al., 2011;Piranda et al., 2011). ...
... These plans have to consider prevention, control, and eradication strategies (Galetti and Sazima, 2006;Lessa et al., 2016). More specifically, the following actions are required: evaluate the impacts of dogs-wildlife interactions; promote campaigns explaining to the public and dogs' owners the negative impacts of dogs on wildlife, indicating how to avoid these impacts; exclude domestic dogs from critical wildlife habitats and protected/vulnerable areas; monitor and control the circulation of dogs in the vicinity of critical and protected areas (buffer zones and transition areas); vaccination of domestic animals; sterilization of dogs; when hunting is necessary for subsistence, hunters need to be advised not to include ill dogs in hunting activities; keep dogs healthy and in hygienic conditions; remove garbage from vulnerable areas; promote actions focused on responsible dogownership (Macpherson, 2005;Fiorello et al., 2006;Lacerda et al., 2009;Young et al., 2011;Furtado et al., 2013;Soto and Palomares, 2015;. In other words, the One Health perspective must be applied, in which animal, human, and environmental factors are considered together aiming the control of infectious diseases (Cunningham et al., 2017;Destoumieux-Garzón et al., 2018). ...
Article
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The presence of domestic/free-ranging dogs in Brazilian protected areas and native vegetation fragments is an important problem, mainly because these animals pose a threat to wild species that live in such areas. In addition, dogs constantly circulate between wildlife environments and urban regions, acting as “bridges” in spillover events. Dogs are traditionally recognized as vectors of zoonoses, which are correct, but their roles as facilitating agents for the “jump” of pathogens from wild animals to humans (and vice versa) are sparsely debated. In this context, this work briefly describes the different roles of dogs in the dynamics and ecology of infectious diseases, using the Brazilian scenario as a study model.
... Antibodies to CDV, canine parvovirus and rabies virus have been detected in jaguars from Brazil. However, the impact of these diseases on the population dynamics of free-living jaguars remains unknown (Nava et al. 2008;Furtado et al. 2013;Onuma et al. 2016). ...
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Invasion of humans and dogs into the jaguars’ habitat opens the way for future negative events. Dog predation by jaguars has only been recorded anecdotally, despite the high risk of pathogen transmis- sion and the potential conflict due to pet predation. In this study, we document jaguar attacks on dogs in Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico, a tourist town in the Mexican Caribbean. In addition, we describe an initiative designed to prevent jaguar persecution by constructing night houses for dogs at the most recent attack sites. A total of 20 attacks were recorded in the last nine years, most of them fatal (60%) on medium-sized dogs (70%), at night (95%) and during the dry season (65%). Half of the attacks occurred in the north of Mahahual ́s coastline and the other half in the south. Attacks in the south were concentrated between 0 to 10 km away from the village, while in the north they were dispersed over distances between 0 and > 30 km. Thirty-eight night houses were constructed covering almost 45 km of the 135 km of Mahahual’s coastline. Further research is required to understand the importance of dogs in the jaguar diet and the impact of dog predation on the health and disease ecol- ogy of jaguar populations.
... On the other hand, distemper viruses affect a wide range of canine and marine mammals causing mild discomfort to serious, neurological disease (Appel, 1970;Barrett, 1999;Deem et al., 2000;Harder and Osterhaus, 1997;Martella et al., 2008). Interestingly, CDV infections also occur in wild and captive feline populations (Daoust et al., 2009;Furtado et al., 2013;Nagao et al., 2012;Nava et al., 2008;Quigley et al., 2010;Terio and Craft, 2013). ...
... As in other areas, these species have been severely threatened by recent unsustainable practices of development that have led to a reduction in natural habitat due to agriculture and livestock expansion, consequently causing a decrease in the supply of natural prey (Nowell & Jackson, 1996) and diseases (Furtado et al., 2013;Weber & Rabinowitz, 1996). Poaching, often due to retaliation for losses caused by livestock predation, is another significant threat (Altrichter, Boaglio, & Perovic, 2006;Zimmermann, Walpole, & Leader-Williams, 2005). ...
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Surveys to assess environmental knowledge are elementary tools to ensure successful environmental education. Felines are considered key components of the environment, acting as flagships for conservation. Nevertheless, they are threatened by loss of habitat, prey reductions, and poaching. In the mosaic of protected areas in the Brazilian Pantanal, where several environmental education activities are supported, felines are a conservation target priority. We present the results of surveys to investigate schoolchildren's knowledge and perceptions of felines. Our results show that larger species are better known than smaller ones, and that negative perceptions are a concern, demonstrating priorities for environmental education.
... CDV-neutralizing antibodies have been found in various species of wild felids throughout their natural habitats worldwide, e.g. in Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) [101], leopard (Panthera pardus) [102] or South American jaguars (Panthera onca) [103]. The first devastating epidemic in large wild felids occurred in 1994 within the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem of East Africa. ...
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Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a pantropic morbillivirus with a worldwide distribution, which causes fatal disease in dogs. Affected animals develop dyspnea, diarrhea, neurological signs and profound immunosuppression. Systemic CDV infection, resembling distemper in domestic dogs, can be found also in wild canids (e.g. wolves, foxes) procyonids (e.g. raccoons, kinkajous), ailurids (e.g. red pandas), ursids (e.g. black bears, giant pandas), mustelids (e.g. ferrets, minks), viverrids (e.g. civets, genets), hyaenids (e.g. spotted hyenas), and large felids (e.g. lions, tigers). Furthermore, besides infection with the closely related phocine distemper virus, seals can become infected by CDV. In some CDV outbreaks including the mass mortalities among Baikal and Caspian seals and large felids in the Serengeti Park, terrestrial carnivores including dogs and wolves have been suspected as vectors for the infectious agent. In addition, lethal infections have been described in non-carnivore species such as peccaries and non-human primates demonstrating the remarkable ability of the pathogen to cross species barriers. Mutations affecting the CDV H protein required for virus attachment to host-cell receptors are associated with virulence and disease emergence in novel host species. The broad and expanding host range of CDV and its maintenance within wildlife reservoir hosts considerably hampers disease eradication.
... Uno de estos se realizó en el año 2003, se describió la presencia de FeLV y FIPV en muestras de sangre. Se obtuvo como resultado que 12 de las 16 muestras fueron positivas para el FIPV, concluyendo que este virus se encuentra ampliamente distribuido en los felinos silvestres de Brasil, citado por Furtado et al (23). En otro estudio se comprobó la presencia de anticuerpos contra varios patógenos, entre estos el FCoV, en suero o plasma. ...
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Desde su descubrimiento por Holzworth en el año 1962, el estudio del Coronavirus Felino (FCoV) ha sido de gran interés ya que este puede afectar a felinos domésticos y silvestres. Actualmente se conocen 2 serotipos, el tipo I que es único de felinos y el tipo II que nace de una doble recombinación homóloga con un coronavirus canino (CCoV); estos a su vez pueden dividirse en 2 biotipos, los virus que generan enfermedades entéricas leves (FECVs) y los que causan la peritonitis infecciosa felina (FIPVs). En el continente americano existen distintos métodos diagnósticos que permiten en conjunto detectar la peritonitis infecciosa felina (FIP), pero la identificación del FCoV solo se puede hacer por métodos moleculares. Los países que más han estudiado este virus son aquellos que cuentan con una mayor cantidad de herramientas para realizar las pruebas diagnósticas como lo son Estados Unidos, Canadá y Brasil. En el presente trabajo se exhiben los reportes de casos y los métodos diagnósticos usados para identificar el coronavirus felino y/o sus biotipos en algunos países del continente americano.
... Also, interacting with the fauna attracted to the landfill -especially dogs -puts jaguars at risk of contracting diseases such as canine parvovirus, canine distemper virus (CDV), rabies, Sarcoptes, etc. Knobel et al. 2014 for a review). For instance, CDV is capable of producing severe infections in captive jaguars (Appel et al. 1994), and the presence of dogs has been associated with high degrees of seropositivity in wild jaguars (Furtado et al. 2013). There are records of dogs living on the periphery of the Playa del Carmen area exhibiting the symptoms of CDV (Remolina-Suárez 2014), but despite this our jaguar was in good physical condition and had no evident signs of injury or severe parasitosis. ...
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Understanding how jaguars (Panthera onca) adapt to disturbed landscapes, especially urbanized areas, can help us prevent adverse situations, thus reducing conflict, and perhaps even achieve coexistence with these predators. Playa del Carmen, a city located in the middle of a natural corridor linking two jaguar conservation units (JCUs; Sian Ka’an and Yum Balam), is facing intense pressure from tourism-related city growth. From January 2013 to March 2014, we tracked an adult male jaguar using a satellite collar and found that the presence of the Playa del Carmen landfill had a clear influence on a male jaguar’s home range and movements. We observed that this particular jaguar had the smallest seasonal home range and core areas reported in the literature (particularly during the dry season in 2013, where the home range was only 16.22 km² and the core area was 2.5 km²) and also that the seasonal core areas overlapped with the area covered by the landfill (with a number of important locations within the landfill). Our results showed that male jaguars are surviving in areas previously not considered as jaguar habitat and are taking advantage of the human resources within. We hope that these results encourage more jaguar studies to be carried out in areas disturbed by human activities.
... In Brazil, free-living wild feline species (such as Leopardus tigrinus, L. pardalis and Puma concolor) have been detected carrying several diseases of domestic origin, especially those from domestic carnivores (dogs and cats) (Chomel et al., 2004;Filonni et al., 2006;Furtado et al., 2013). These data reinforce the importance of vaccination of both dogs and domestic cats in these areas or in areas close to natural areas. ...
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Anthropogenic changes are a major threat to biodiversity. One of these possible changes that affect biodiversity is the introduction of domestic species in the environment, which might represent a threat to wild species. The domestic cat, in particular, has biological and behavioral characteristics that allow a great adaptability to natural areas, thus representing a potential risk to the native species, mainly to the other members of the Felidae family. In this study, the spatial overlap between four species of Neotropical wildcats and domestic cats living in an Atlantic Forest Protected Area in one of the most important forest remnants of this ecosystem was verified. The results indicate the need to adopt mitigation measures against the potential risks of this interaction with the goal of preserving the native species.
... Dogs and cats may affect the wildlife (Hughes & Macdonald 2013, Gompper 2013, Lessa et al. 2016, since they can prey on (Campos et al. 2007, Srbek-Araujo & Chiarello 2008, Vanak & Gompper 2009, Ferreira et al. 2014 or compete with native species (Atickem et al. 2010, Carvalho et al. 2019. They can also be disease reservoirs or vectors (Filoni et al. 2006, Furtado et al. 2013, Lessa et al. 2016. The spatial overlap between domestic and wild mammals represent a risk for endangered species (e.g. ...
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The establishment of protected areas is central for biodiversity conservation, but it may cause conflicts between the environmental agencies and the local citizens. In this study we aimed to survey the medium and large sized mammals in an Atlantic Forest protected area located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We also aimed to understand how the local citizens felt about the establishment of the Paraíso Unit. Between June and December 2015, we used 1,754 camera-days to record the mammals of Três Picos State Park-Paraíso Unit. To assess the citizens' felling about the Paraíso Unit, we conducted 22 interviews. We recorded 10 species, belonging to seven orders, classified into four dietary guilds. Among recorded species, four species are considered vulnerable in the state of Rio de Janeiro: Puma concolor, Leopardus pardalis, Pecari tajacu, and Cuniculus paca. A part of the citizens claimed losses in their activities. The main complaints were about the lack of dialogue with the park administration, the restricted access to waterfalls and trails inside the park and downturn in local commerce. According to the interviewed residents, the poaching pressure was greater on C. paca, Dasypus novemcinctus, and Dasyprocta leporina. To minimize the conflicts Paraíso Unit must improve the protected area governance, implementing its management plan in a participatory, inclusive and equity way.
... CDV infection is not universally fatal in felids. There is serologic evidence of CDV infection in wild felids throughout their natural habitats worldwide, including in South America, where fatal cases have not (yet) been reported (13)(14)(15)(16)(17). Retrospective serosurveys of the Serengeti lion population identified multiple "silent" CDV epidemics that were not associated with mortalities, suggesting that CDV infection was not always fatal and was present in the ecosystem long before 1994 (18). ...
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One of the greatest threats to the conservation of wild cat populations may be dogs or, at least, one of their viruses. Canine distemper virus (CDV), a single-stranded RNA virus in the Paramyxoviridae family and genus Morbillivirus, infects and causes disease in a variety of species, not just canids. An outbreak of CDV in wild lions in the Serengeti, Tanzania, in 1994 was a wake-up call for conservationists, as it demonstrated that an infectious disease could swiftly impact a previously healthy felid population. To understand how this virus causes disease in noncanid hosts, researchers have focused on specific mutations in the binding site of the CDV hemagglutinin gene. Now, Seimon et al. provide information on CDV in its latest feline victim, the endangered wild Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) [T. A. Seimon et al., mBio 4(4):e00410-13, 2013, doi:10.1128/mBio.00410-13]. Their findings of CDV strains infecting tigers, in combination with recent information from other felids, paints a different picture, one in which CDV strains from a variety of geographic lineages and with a variety of amino acid residues in the hemagglutinin gene binding site can infect cats and cause disease. Although CDV has been known as a multihost disease since its discovery in domestic dogs in 1905, perhaps it is time to reconsider whether these noncanid species are not just incidental or “spillover” hosts but, rather, a normal part of the complex ecology of this infectious disease.
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A cross-sectional study was carried out on cats attending the Small Animal Hospital at the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires to assess the prevalence and associated risk factors of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Blood samples from 255 cats with symptoms compatible with FIV or FeLV infection, collected between 2009 and 2013 were analyzed by serology (immunochromatography, IA) and by hemi-nested PCR (n-PCR). The IA and n-PCR assays showed similar percentages of positivity for FIV while the n-PCR test was more sensitive for FeLV. Differences between the diagnostic tests and their choice according to the age of the animal are discussed. The clinical histories of ninety of the 255 cats showed blood profiles similar to others previously reported and revealed a higher risk of infection in male adult cats with outdoor access.
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The occurrence of antibodies against canine distemper virus (CDV), parvovirus and Ehrlichia spp. in wild captive carnivores was evaluated in a zoological park in midwestern Brazil. Serum samples were collected between 2007 and 2014 from 45 carnivores. Antibodies were evaluated by virus neutralization assay for CDV, hemagglutination inhibition test for parvovirus, indirect immunofluorescent and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for Ehrlichia spp. Antibodies against CDV and parvovirus were detected in 75% of Canidae and Felidae. Procyonidae were negative for CDV, although one Mustelidae was positive. TwoCanidae presented antibodies reactive to E. canis antigens. The high antibodies rates to CDV and parvovirus suggest the contact with both pathogens, however since no clinical history of disease are registered in the Zoo-UFMT, we can presume that carnivores have responded satisfactorily against the antigens. The low serological rates observed against Ehrlichia spp. may be resulted to the low occurrence of ticks among carnivores.
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Background: Canine morbillivirus (canine distemper virus, CDV) persists as a serious threat to the health of domestic dogs and wildlife. Although studies have been conducted on the frequency and risk factors associated with CDV infection, there are no comprehensive data on the current epidemiological magnitude in the domestic dog population at regional and national levels. Therefore, we conducted a cross-sectional study and included our results in a meta-analysis to summarize and combine available data on the frequency and potential risk factors associated with CDV infection. Methods: For the cross-sectional study, biological samples from dogs suspected to have canine distemper (CD) were collected and screened for viral RNA. Briefly, the PRISMA protocol was used for the meta-analysis, and data analyses were performed using STATA IC 13.1 software. Results: CDV RNA was detected in 34% (48/141) of dogs suspected to have CD. Following our meta-analysis, 53 studies were selected for a total of 11,527 dogs. Overall, the pooled frequency of CDV positivity based on molecular and serological results were 33% (95% CI: 23-43) and 46% (95% CI: 36-57), respectively. The pooled subgroup analyses of clinical signs, types of biological samples, diagnostic methods and dog lifestyle had a wide range of CDV positivity (range 8-75%). Free-ranging dogs (OR: 1.44, 95% CI: 1.05-1.97), dogs >24 months old (OR: 1.83, 95% CI: 1.1-3) and unvaccinated dogs (OR: 2.92, 95% CI: 1.26-6.77) were found to be positively associated with CDV infection. In contrast, dogs <12 months old (OR: 0.36, 95% CI: 0.20-0.64) and dogs with a complete anti-CDV vaccination (OR: 0.18, 95% CI: 0.05-0.59) had a negative association. Conclusion: Considering the high frequency of CDV positivity associated with almost all the variables analyzed in dogs, it is necessary to immediately and continuously plan mitigation strategies to reduce the CDV prevalence, especially in determined endemic localities.
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Antibody titres to canine distemper virus (CDV) and canine parvovirus (CPV) were measured in 132 dogs: 80 had been vaccinated at least once, 22 had not been vaccinated, and 30 had unknown vaccination history. Serum antibody titers were measured by means of serum neutralization (CDV) or hemagglutination inhibition (CPV). Serum CDV titers >20 and serum CPV titers >80 were considered protective. Protective antibodies to CDV were present in 40.1% of the population: 39.8% of the vaccinated dogs, 31.8% unvaccinated, and in 46.6% of the dogs with unknown vaccination history. Protective antibodies to CPV were present in 90.9% of the dogs: 93.7% of the vaccinated dogs, 90.9% of the unvaccinated, and 83.3% of the dogs with unknown vaccination history.
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Canine distemper virus (CDV), parvovirus (CPV), adenovirus (CAV) and coronavirus (CCoV) infections have been associated with significant morbidity and mortality among dogs worldwide yet very little is known about these infections in Brazil. As to determine the prevalence of these infections in the canine population of Santa Maria, RS, Brazil, 817 blood samples were collected from non-vaccinated dogs of 14 neighborhoods and tested for specific antibodies. Antibodies to CDV were detected in 27.3% (223/817) of the samples, to CPV in 68.7% (561/817), to CAV in 43% (353/817) and to CCoV in 50.4% (412/817) of the dogs. An increase in seropositivity related to age was observed for CDV, CAV e CCoV. The seropositivity to CPV, CAV and CCoV was higher in males, while no differences between genders were observed to CDV. Higher prevalences to CDV and CCoV were observed among dogs having contact with other house or street dogs, while no differences in seropositivity were observed for CPV and CAV. These results indicate that these infections are spread out among dogs in Santa Maria. Nonetheless, a significant part of the population is still seronegative and therefore unprotected against these viruses. This indicates a need for extending the vaccination against to these viral infections.
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Las recientes publicaciones científicas respecto de enfermedades infecciosas emergentes en especies silvestres están aumentando la preocupación internacional en el deterioro de la salud del ecosistema de los océanos, ambientes terrestres y límnicos. Se estudiaron investigaciones publicadas en los últimos 25 años. Los objetivos de este estudio fueron: 1) determinar la importancia del hábitat y la introducción de especies alóctonas, dentro del contexto de la contaminación y el cambio climático, en el surgimiento de enfermedades infecciosas, y 2) evaluar el riesgo de extinción de especies con problemas de conservación. La evaluación de los casos escogidos, más importantes, permite concluir que los patógenos responsables de las enfermedades infecciosas en especies silvestres pueden transmitirse rápidamente entre huéspedes pudiendo llegar a producir en corto tiempo epizootias que pueden poner en peligro poblaciones vulnerables en declinación. La destrucción del hábitat y la introducción de especies alóctonas son variables ambientales que significativamente afectan la ecología de las enfermedades infecciosas emergentes. En cambio la contaminación y el cambio climático actúan como variables ambientales que favorecen la transmisión y la creación de nuevos huéspedes. Esta multicausalidad en el origen de las enfermedades genera la necesidad de un enfoque transdisciplinario para enfrentarlas. El riesgo creciente de epizootias debido a las variables ambientales y biológicas estudiadas, fuerza incluir en los planes de conservación y rescate de especies silvestres la ecología de las enfermedades infecciosas.
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Del Puerto H. L., Vasconcelos A. C., Moro L., Alves F., Braz G. F. & Martins A. S. 2010. Canine distemper virus detection in asymptomatic and non vaccinated dogs. Pesquisa Veterinaria Brasileira 30(2): 139-144. Departamento de Patologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Campus Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, MG 31270-901, Brazil. E-mail: helendelpuerto@hotmail.com A quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revealed canine distemper virus presence in peripheral blood samples from asymptomatic and non vaccinated dogs. Samples from eleven domestic dogs with no signs of canine distemper and not vaccinated at the month of collection were used. Canine distemper virus vaccine samples in VERO cells were used as positive controls. RNA was isolated with Trizol (R), and treated with a TURBO DNA-free kit. Primers were designed for canine distemper virus nucleocapsid protein coding region fragment amplification (84 bp). Canine beta-actin (93 bp) was utilized as the endogenous control for normalization. Quantitative results of real time PCR generated by ABI Prism 7000 SDS Software showed that 54.5% of dogs with asymptomatic canine distemper were positive for canine distemper virus. Dissociation curves confirmed the specificity of the real time PCR fragments. This technique could detect even a few copies of viral RNA and identificate subclinically infected dogs providing accurate diagnosis of this disease at an early stage.
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Antibody titres to canine distemper virus (CDV) and canine parvovirus (CPV) were measured in 132 dogs: 80 had been vaccinated at least once, 22 had not been vaccinated, and 30 had unknown vaccination history. Serum antibody titers were measured by means of serum neutralization (CDV) or hemagglutination inhibition (CPV). Serum CDV titers >20 and serum CPV titers >80 were considered protective. Protective antibodies to CDV were present in 40.1% of the population: 39.8% of the vaccinated dogs, 31.8% unvaccinated, and in 46.6% of the dogs with unknown vaccination history. Protective antibodies to CPV were present in 90.9% of the dogs: 93.7% of the vaccinated dogs, 90.9% of the unvaccinated, and 83.3% of the dogs with unknown vaccination history.
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Rabies is a viral zoonotic infectious disease that affects mammals and is caused by genotypes/species of the Lyssavirus genus (Rhabdoviridae, Mononegavirales), with the genotype 1 (classic rabies virus – RABV) being the most prevalent. Despite continuous efforts, rabies is still an incurable disease that causes thousands of deaths amongst humans worldwide. Due to a wide range of hosts and the different evolutionary paths of RABV in each host, several host-specific variants have arisen in an ongoing process. The result of RABV replication in nervous tissues may lead to two opposite clinical outcomes, i.e., paralytic/dumb form and encephalitic/furious one. The paralytic form creates dead-end hosts mainly amongst herbivores, while the furious form of the disease allows for augmented transmission when manifested in gregarious carnivores, as their natural aggressive behavior is accentuated by the disease itself. The aim of this article is to propose a theoretical model intended to explore how the rabies virus intrinsically modulates the immune system of different host classes, the pathological changes that the virus causes in these animals and how these elements favor its own perpetuation in nature, thus providing a basis for better prediction of the patterns this disease may present.
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Jaguars have been studied in the wild since the late 1970's. However, compared with other large cat species, jaguars are still one of the least known. We describe capture methodologies and study methods used in jaguar research, their applica- tion, advantages and disadvantages. Over the years, capture methodologies have improved, primarily in relation to safety measures. Telemetry studies are shifting from VHF to GPS systems with the capacity to collect more information on the species. Among non-invasive methodologies, camera trapping is used to study jaguar density and feces collected with the help of detector dogs can provide information on diet, genetics, health and hormonal status. With improving methodo- logies and more published information about their applicability, studying jaguars in the wild will hopefully become less challenging.
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The feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a retrovirus that affects domestic cats all over the world. Its pathogenic effects generally include anemia, immunosuppression or tumors. Dissemination over populations is linked to cat sociality, because the virus is transmitted by direct contact. Although the domestic cat is its common host, FeLV infection has also been described in some wild felids. In the Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus, some sporadic FeLV infection cases have been reported since 1994, but an outbreak with the involvement of several animals has never been described until now. During spring 2007, an FeLV outbreak hit the Doñana (SW Spain) population. The infection rapidly spread throughout the densest subpopulation throughout Doñana. Infected animals showed very acute anemic disease, most of them dying in <6 months. To avoid FeLV dissemination, a control program was carried out that included removal of viremic lynxes, vaccination of negative individuals and reduction of the feral cat population. The program was implemented both in Doñana and in Sierra Morena populations. In Doñana, around 80% of the total lynx population and 90% of the outbreak focus subpopulation were evaluated. Seven out of the 12 infected individuals found died and two reverted to latency; the remaining viremic animals have been kept in captivity. The outbreak appears to have been successfully confined to the subpopulation where the virus appeared and no more cases have been found since August 2007. In the larger Sierra Morena population, 8% of the lynx population was surveyed. Thirty-four uninfected Iberian lynxes were vaccinated at least once. The FeLV prevalence was found to be 27% in the Doñana population and 0% in the Sierra Morena population.
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International conservation planning at the end of the twentieth century is dominated by coarse-filter, supra-organismal approaches to conservation that may be insufficient to conserve certain species such as the jaguar (Panthera onca). If we are to retain broadly distributed species into the next century, we need to plan explicitly for their survival across their entire geographic range and through political boundaries while recognizing the variety of ecological roles the species plays in different habitats. In March 1999 the Wildlife Conservation Society sponsored a priority-setting and planning exercise for the jaguar across its range, from northern Mexico to northern Argentina. Field scientists from 18 countries reached consensus on four types of information: (1) the spatial extent of their jaguar knowledge, (2) the known, currently occupied range of jaguars, (3) areas with substantial jaguar populations, adequate habitat, and a stable and diverse prey base, and (4) point localities where jaguars have been observed during the last 10 years. During the exercise, these experts also conducted a range-wide assessment of the long-term survival prospects of the jaguar and developed an algorithm for prioritizing jaguar conservation units occurring in major habitat types. From this work, we learned that the known, occupied range of the jaguar has contracted to approximately 46% of estimates of its 1900 range. Jaguar status and distribution is unknown in another 12% of the jaguar's former range, including large areas in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. But over 70% of the area where jaguars are thought to still occur was rated as having a high probability of supporting their long-term survival. Fifty-one jaguar conservation units representing 30 different jaguar geographic regions were prioritized as the basis for a comprehensive jaguar conservation program.
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Rabies virus is a pathogen of major concern in free-ranging wild carnivores in several regions of the world, but little is known about its circulation in Brazilian wild carnivores. Sera from 211 free-ranging wild carnivores, captured from 2000 to 2006 in four locations of two Brazilian biomes (Pantanal and Cerrado), were tested for rabies antibodies. Twenty-six individuals (12.3%) had neutralizing antibody titers ≥0.10 IU/ml. The four sampled locations had antibody-positive animals, suggesting that Rabies virus circulates in all of these regions. Results underscore the risk posed by rabies for conservation of Brazilian carnivores and the possibility of the animals acting as reservoirs for the Rabies virus.
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To date, ecologists and conservation biologists have focused much of their attention on the population and ecosystem effects of disease at regional scales and the role that diseases play in global species extinction. Far less research has been dedicated to identifying the effects that diseases can have on local scale species assemblages. We examined the role of infectious disease in structuring local biodiversity. Our intention was to illustrate how variable outcomes can occur by focusing on three case studies: the influence of chestnut blight on forest communities dominated by chestnut trees, the influence of red-spot disease on urchin barrens and kelp forests, and the influence of sylvatic plague on grassland communities inhabited by prairie dogs. Our findings reveal that at local scales infectious disease seems to play an important, though unpredictable, role in structuring species diversity. Through our case studies, we have shown that diseases can cause drastic population declines or local extirpations in keystone species, ecosystem engineers, and otherwise abundant species. These changes in local diversity may be very important, particularly when considered alongside potentially corresponding changes in community structure and function, and we believe that future efforts to understand the importance of disease to species diversity should have an increased focus on these local scales.
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Overview Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a retrovirus closely related to human immunodeficiency virus. Most felids are susceptible to FIV, but humans are not. Feline immunodeficiency virus is endemic in domestic cat populations worldwide. The virus loses infectivity quickly outside the host and is susceptible to all disinfectants. Infection Feline immunodeficiency virus is transmitted via bites. The risk of transmission is low in households with socially well-adapted cats. Transmission from mother to kittens may occur, especially if the queen is undergoing an acute infection. Cats with FIV are persistently infected in spite of their ability to mount antibody and cell-mediated immune responses. Disease signs Infected cats generally remain free of clinical signs for several years, and some cats never develop disease, depending on the infecting isolate. Most clinical signs are the consequence of immunodeficiency and secondary infection. Typical manifestations are chronic gingivostomatitis, chronic rhinitis, lymphadenopathy, weight loss and immune-mediated glomerulonephritis. Diagnosis Positive in-practice ELISA results obtained in a low-prevalence or low-risk population should always be confirmed by a laboratory. Western blot is the ‘gold standard’ laboratory test for FIV serology. PCR-based assays vary in performance. Disease management Cats should never be euthanased solely on the basis of an FIV-positive test result. Cats infected with FIV may live as long as uninfected cats, with appropriate management. Asymptomatic FIV-infected cats should be neutered to avoid fighting and virus transmission. Infected cats should receive regular veterinary health checks. They can be housed in the same ward as other patients, but should be kept in individual cages.
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Serum samples from 19 jaguars (Panthera onca), nine pumas (Puma concolor), and two ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) were collected between January 1999 and March of 2005 and tested for presence of canine distemper virus (CDV). All cats were free-ranging animals living in two protected areas in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. In addition, 111 domestic dogs from nearby areas were sampled for CDV. Our results show the first evidence of CDV exposure in Brazilian free-ranging felids. From the 30 samples analyzed, six jaguars and one puma were tested seropositive for CDV. All seropositive large felids were from Ivinhema State Park, resulting in 31.5% of the sampled jaguars or 60% of the total jaguar population in Ivinhema State Park, and 11.28% of the sampled pumas. From the total 111 domestic dogs sampled, 45 were tested seropositive for CDV. At Morro do Diabo State Park, 34.6% of the dogs sampled were positive for CDV, and 100% at Ivinhema State Park. Canine distemper virus in wild felids seems to be related with home range use and in close association with domestic dogs living in nearby areas.
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The natural occurrence of lentiviruses closely related to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in nondomestic felid species is shown here to be worldwide. Cross-reactive antibodies to FIV were common in several free-ranging populations of large cats, including East African lions and cheetahs of the Serengeti ecosystem and in puma (also called cougar or mountain lion) populations throughout North America. Infectious puma lentivirus (PLV) was isolated from several Florida panthers, a severely endangered relict puma subspecies inhabiting the Big Cypress Swamp and Everglades ecosystems in southern Florida. Phylogenetic analysis of PLV genomic sequences from disparate geographic isolates revealed appreciable divergence from domestic cat FIV sequences as well as between PLV sequences found in different North American locales. The level of sequence divergence between PLV and FIV was greater than the level of divergence between human and certain simian immunodeficiency viruses, suggesting that the transmission of FIV between feline species is infrequent and parallels in time the emergence of HIV from simian ancestors.
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Between 1984 and 1988, a study was conducted to evaluate the frequency of rabies virus neutralizing antibodies in raccoons (Procyon lotor) in two counties in Iowa. Nine hundred eighty five raccoons were trapped and tagged in Guthrie and Cerro Gordo counties during the spring, summer and fall of each year. Sex, age and weight were recorded for each animal and a blood sample was collected. Serum samples were tested for the presence of serum neutralizing antibodies (SNA) by the rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT), mouse serum neutralization test (MSN), and an indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) technique for detecting immunoglobulin G. Fifty-one raccoons (5%) were found to have SNA by the RFFIT. Thirty-six serum samples (24 with RFFIT antibody titer greater than 3.0, and 12 less than 3.0) were also tested by the MSN, with results correlating well with the RFFIT results (r = 0.86, P less than 0.01, Kappa = 0.93). In 35 raccoons with SNA by the RFFIT, six individuals had immunoglobulin G binding activity by the IFA test. These results provided serologic evidence of exposure of raccoons to rabies virus in an area free of enzootic raccoon rabies.
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A longitudinal study of canine distemper (CD) among domestic dogs on Malsai communal land to the north of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya was conducted from 1989 to 1991. Prevalence of antibodies to CD was very low among domestic dogs in 1989 and 1990 (4%, n = 49; and 1%, n = 119, respectively) and no African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus; n = 16) collected simultaneously from the same area had detectable antibodies. Among 51 domestic dogs sampled in 1991, however, prevalence of CD antibodies rose significantly (P < 0.01) to 76%. Disease-related mortality rates among domestic dogs were estimated from 1990 to 1992; they rose significantly (P < 0.01) from 21% in 1990 to 50% in 1991 and then decreased significantly (P < 0.01) to 38% in 1992. The 1992 mortality rate remained significantly (P < 0.01) higher than that of 1990. Signs observed in clinically ill domestic dogs were consistent with CD and included listlessness, decreased appetite, bilateral serous to mucopurulent oculonasal discharge, and diarrhea. No carcasses could be retrieved for virus isolation and postmortem examination. Concurrent with this CD epizootic in domestic dogs, the known African wild dog packs in this region disappeared.
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Canine distemper virus (CDV) infection occurred in captive leopards (Panthera pardus), tigers (Panthera tigris), lions (Panthera leo), and a jaguar (Panthera onca) in 1991 and 1992. An epizootic affected all 4 types of cats at the Wildlife Waystation, San Fernando, California, with 17 mortalities. CDV-infected raccoons were thought to be the source of infection in these cats. Two black leopards died at the Naibi Zoo, Coal Valley, Illinois, and 2 tigers died at the Shambala Preserve, Acton, California. Initial clinical signs were anorexia with gastrointestinal and/or respiratory disease followed by seizures. Canine distemper virus was isolated from 3 leopards, 3 tigers, and 3 lions that died or were euthanized when moribund. Monoclonal antibody testing identified the virus isolates as CDV. Gross and histopathologic findings were similar to those found in canids with distemper with a few exceptions. There were fewer lesions in the brain, and there was a pronounced type 2 cell proliferation in the lung, with inclusion bodies and CDV antigen demonstrated by immunohistology. Neutralizing antibody to CDV was found in high titers in serum from most animals but was absent or was found only in low titers in some cats that succumbed after CDV infection. There was a marked difference in neutralizing antibody titers when tests were done with different strains of CDV.
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Canine distemper virus (CDV) is thought to have caused several fatal epidemics in canids within the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem of East Africa, affecting silver-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) and bat-eared foxes (Otocyon megalotis) in 1978 (ref. 1), and African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in 1991 (refs 2, 3). The large, closely monitored Serengeti lion population was not affected in these epidemics. However, an epidemic caused by a morbillivirus closely related to CDV emerged abruptly in the lion population of the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, in early 1994, resulting in fatal neurological disease characterized by grand mal seizures and myoclonus; the lions that died had encephalitis and pneumonia. Here we report the identification of CDV from these lions, and the close phylogenetic relationship between CDV isolates from lions and domestic dogs. By August 1994, 85% of the Serengeti lion population had anti-CDV antibodies, and the epidemic spread north to lions in the Maasai Mara National reserve, Kenya, and uncounted hyaenas, bat-eared foxes, and leopards were also affected.
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Between October 1991 and February 1992, 41 of 53 known adult and subadult Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis) in five adjacent packs in the Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia, died or disappeared. Brain smears from two carcasses were positive for rabies by the immunofluorescence test, and rabies virus was isolated from the brains by mouse inoculation. Based on monoclonal antibody tests on the mouse brains, we identified the virus as a minor variant of the serotype 1 rabies viruses found in domestic dogs and wild canids of Africa. Sera from two of 15 Ethiopian wolves had rabies virus neutralizing antibody.
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Diagnosis of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has recently become available, but little is known about the performance of this assay. The purpose of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of PCR diagnosis of FIV infection. Replicate aliquots of blood samples from cats identified as FIV positive or negative by 2 previous enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) results, and from clinically healthy dogs, were submitted to different laboratories for FIV serologic diagnosis and PCR. The PCR products obtained in 1 laboratory were sequenced to determine the FIV subtype. The PCR assays correctly identified 100%, 80%, and 50% of the FIV-positive samples, and 100%, 90%, and 70% of FIV-negative samples. Each dog sample was reported as FIV PCR positive at least once, and FIV subtypes A, B, and C were identified. It was concluded that PCR tests currently available for FIV infection are unreliable, with highly variable sensitivity and specificity.
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Serum samples from 18 pumas (Puma concolor), one ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), and two little spotted cats (Leopardus tigrinus) collected from free-ranging animals in Brazil between 1998 and 2004 were tested by indirect immunofluorescence (IFA) for antibodies to feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV 1), calicivirus (FCV), coronavirus (FCoV), parvo-virus (FPV), Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma pha-gocytophilum, and Bartonella henselae. Serum samples also were tested, by Western blot and ELISA, for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) specific antibodies and antigen, respectively, by Western blot for antibodies to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and by indirect ELISA for antibodies to puma lentivirus (PLV). Antibodies to FHV 1, FCV, FCoV, FPV, FeLV, FIV, PLV or related viruses, and to B. henselae were detected. Furthermore, high-titered antibodies to E. canis or a closely related agent were detected in a puma for the first time.
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The recent reintroduction of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone signifies a constructive change, but the overall record in the United States on large carnivore conservation remains poor. Many developing countries are determined to do a better job of conserving predators, including their critical habitat and prey populations. We describe current efforts to protect tigers (Panther tigris), jaguars (Panthera onca), and large-scale forest habitat in Asia, Central America, and Africa. These initiatives take a comprehensive approach that includes biological field research, the identification of local human interests, and a growing recognition of the need for cooperation across political lines. Though often supported by U.S. technical assistance, this international experience could be used better to inform and improve carnivore conservation efforts in North America. Failure to improve our domestic performance or to fully appreciate the contributions of far less developed countries could weaken global efforts to maintain and restore populations of large carnivores.
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The Pantanal, one of the largest wetlands on the planet, comprises 140,000 km² of lowland floodplain of the upper Rio Paraguai basin that drains the Cerrado of central Brazil. The diverse mosaics of habitats resulting from the varied soil types and inundation regimes are responsible for an extraordinarily rich terrestrial and aquatic biota, exemplified by the bird richest wetland in the world—463 birds have been recorded there—and the largest known populations of several threatened mammals, such as Pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus), marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), and jaguar (Panthera onca). Until recently, deforestation of the adjoining Brazilian central plateau was considered the major threat to this area, but now deforestation is a critical problem within the floodplain itself. More than 40% of the forest and savanna habitats have been altered for cattle ranching through the introduction of exotic grasses. And there are other threats that lead to large-scale disruption of ecological processes, severely affecting biodiversity. Although the Pantanal wetland is a Biosphere Reserve and is considered a Wetland of International Importance, only 2.5% of the upper Paraguai River basin is formally protected. To date, protected areas have been created opportunistically and as such, although of undoubted value, protect only a fraction of the Pantanal's wildlife and habitats. Among the conservation initiatives in the area, the private sector is increasingly participating in the establishment of private reserves. The prospects are far from optimistic, however, and the major challenge is to find alternative socioeconomic models that allow for conservation and economic uses of the land in association with the development of specific environmental legislation that reflects the unique characteristics of the region.
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Parasite-driven declines in wildlife have become increasingly common and can pose significant risks to natural populations. We used the IUCN Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species and compiled data on hosts threatened by infectious disease and their parasites to better understand the role of infectious disease in contemporary host extinctions. The majority of mammal species considered threatened by parasites were either carnivores or artiodactyls, two clades that include the majority of domesticated animals. Parasites affecting host threat status were predominantly viruses and bacteria that infect a wide range of host species, including domesticated animals. Counter to our predictions, parasites transmitted by close contact were more likely to cause extinction risk than those transmitted by other routes. Mammal species threatened by parasites were not better studied for infectious diseases than other threatened mammals and did not have more parasites or differ in four key traits demonstrated to affect parasite species richness in other comparative studies. Our findings underscore the need for better information concerning the distribution and impacts of infectious diseases in populations of endangered mammals. In addition, our results suggest that evolutionary similarity to domesticated animals may be a key factor associated with parasite-mediated declines, thus, efforts to limit contact between domesticated hosts and wildlife could reduce extinction risk.
Article
The importance of diseases of domestic animals in the conservation of wildlife is increasingly being recognised. Wild carnivores are susceptible to many of the pathogens carried by domestic dogs and cats and some of these pathogens have caused disease outbreaks and severe population declines in threatened species. The risk of disease spillover from domestic to wild carnivores in South America has not been extensively investigated. This study examined the disease exposure of domestic carnivores living near a protected area in Bolivia. Forty dogs and 14 cats living in three towns on the eastern border of Madidi National Park were sampled. High levels of exposure to canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus, Sarcoptes scabiei and Toxoplasma gondii were found among domestic dogs, with similarly high levels of exposure to feline parvovirus, feline calicivirus and T. gondii being found among domestic cats. If contact occurs between domestic and wild carnivores, disease spillover may represent an important risk for the persistence of wild carnivores in the region. Additional research is therefore necessary to determine if wild carnivores living in proximity to these domestic carnivore populations are being exposed to these pathogens.
Article
The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest feline in the Americas and third largest world-wide, smaller in size only to the tiger (P. tigris) and lion (P. leo). Yet, in comparison, relatively few studies on jaguar population densities have been conducted and baseline data for management purposes are needed. Camera trapping and capture–recapture sampling methods were used to estimate the size of a jaguar population in the Pantanal’s open wet grassland habitat, an important area for the long-term survival of the species. This study is the first jaguar population estimate conducted in co-operation with a GPS-telemetry study providing an important opportunity for comparing different methods of density estimation. An accessible area within a 460 km2 privately-owned ranch was sampled with equal effort during the dry seasons of 2003 and 2004. Thirty-one and twenty-five individual jaguars were identified in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Estimates of jaguar abundance were generated by program CAPTURE. Density estimates were produced according to different methods used to calculate the effectively sampled areas which ranged from 274 to 568 km2. For 2003, the currently-used mean maximum distance moved (MMDM) method produced a density of 10.3 jaguars/100 km2, while GPS-telemetry-based calculations produced a mean density of 6.6 jaguars/100 km2. For 2004, the MMDM method produced an estimate of 11.7 jaguars/100 km2 while GPS-telemetry calculations produced a density of 6.7 jaguars/100 km2. Our results suggest that the widely-used MMDM method used to calculate effectively sampled areas is significantly under-reflecting maximum distances moved by jaguars and their range-use and, thereby, considerably inflating cat density estimates. This overestimation could place a population in a difficult situation by lengthening the time taken to initiate protection measures because of underestimating the risk to that population.
Article
Thirty-eight samples of Rabies Virus isolated from dogs and crab-eating foxes (Cerdocyon thous) in Northeastern Brazil were characterized genetically by analyzing the G gene and the psi region. The results show that there are two groups of Rabies Virus lineages circulating among domestic and wild animals in the region. The topologies of the phylogenetic trees of the G gene and psi region are similar and reveal the existence of geographic groups. The genetic diversity of the lineages isolated from wild animals (wild group) was approximately twice that of the lineages isolated from domestic animals (domestic group), and the genetic distance between the two groups was 9.93%. Polymorphism analysis revealed specific intra- and inter-group molecular signatures for both the G gene and psi region. Together with the analysis of the N gene undertaken previously, the results of this study confirm the existence of a Rabies Virus phylogroup in Northeastern Brazil (NB) circulating in the C. thous population, making this species a rabies biotype in the region.
Article
Mature and immature red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) were fed varying numbers of white mice infected with street isolates and a fixed strain of rabies virus. Rabies deaths and the development of serum neutralizing antibody to rabies virus occurred in both species. The epizootiological implications of these findings are discussed.
Article
In September and October 1985, six black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) were captured from the only known population, located near Meeteetse, Wyoming for captive propagation. Two days following capture an adult male showed signs of canine distemper and an adult female displayed similar signs 7 days postcapture; these infections were undoubtedly acquired prior to capture. Subsequently the four remaining captive black-footed ferrets also developed canine distemper and all eventually died. Clinical signs included severe pruritus, hyperkeratosis and progressive loss of body condition. A few animals had intermittent diarrhea and respiratory disease. Intranuclear and intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies were numerous in epithelial tissues and two black-footed ferrets had a mild to moderate meningoencephalitis. Canine distemper virus was isolated from four animals and paramyxovirus nucleocapsids were observed by electron microscopy of feces from all affected black-footed ferrets. Antibodies to canine distemper virus were not detected in sera of sick black-footed ferrets. Antibodies to canine distemper virus were found in sera of badgers (Taxidea taxus) and coyotes (Canis latrans) collected in the Meeteetse area in 1986. Most free-ranging black-footed ferrets in the colony apparently died of canine distemper during the summer and fall of 1985. An attempt was made to capture all surviving animals in the affected area in order to abort the epizootic and provide black-footed ferrets for captive propagation.
Article
A serum neutralization (SN) test for canine distemper virus (CDV) in cell culture in microtitration plates was found to be as sensitive as the conventional test in embryonating hen eggs. Serotest results of 148 samples indicated the microtest had either greater sensitivity or smaller measurement error. Reproducibility of serum titers using the microplate assay was analyzed. The combined effect of all sources of variability within a laboratory resulted in a standard error of ± 0.3 (log10) for a sample of serum titrated at threefold dilutions with 4 replicates per dilution.
Article
Lycaon pictus is amongst the most endangered wildlife species in Africa. In 1990 rabies virus was isolated from the brain of an adult Lycaon found dead in the Serengeti region of Tanzania. One adult and six pups of the same pack feeding on the carcass showed clinical signs and rabies was suspected; within two days they had disappeared and are presumed to have died. Subsequently, two Lycaon packs in the Serengeti National Park were given inactivated rabies vaccine either by dart or by parenteral inoculation following anaesthesia. Lycaon sera which had been collected over the previous two years and sera collected pre- and post-vaccination were examined for the presence of rabies virus neutralizing antibody. Three of 12 unvaccinated Lycaon had antibody levels > 0.5 IU/ml; post-vaccination samples from two Lycaon showed increased antibody levels. Between four and ten months post-vaccination, at least four of the vaccinated animals had died from unknown causes. Issues relating to wildlife vaccination and veterinary intervention in conservation are discussed.
Article
Serological testing is a common method of diagnosis of felina viral infections, including feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia virus (FeLV), and feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV). Infections with these viruses can be difficult to diagnose by clinical signs alone and are sometimes clinically inapparent for months after initial exposure. Serological testing to confirm a tentative diagnosis or as a screening tool for infection can be invaluable. However, serological tests must be used only with a thorough understanding of the mechanisms and abilities of the tests, and with recognition of their potential inadequacies and misinterpretations. This report summarizes the assays available for FIV, FeLV, and FIPV, and discusses merits and pitfalls associated with each test.
Article
Conservationists are far from able to assist all species under threat, if only for lack of funding. This places a premium on priorities: how can we support the most species at the least cost? One way is to identify 'biodiversity hotspots' where exceptional concentrations of endemic species are undergoing exceptional loss of habitat. As many as 44% of all species of vascular plants and 35% of all species in four vertebrate groups are confined to 25 hotspots comprising only 1.4% of the land surface of the Earth. This opens the way for a 'silver bullet' strategy on the part of conservation planners, focusing on these hotspots in proportion to their share of the world's species at risk.
Article
To assess whether serum canine parvovirus (CPV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) antibody titers can be used to determine revaccination protocols in healthy dogs. Case series. 1,441 dogs between 6 weeks and 17 years old. CPV and CDV antibody titers in serum samples submitted to a commercial diagnostic laboratory were measured by use of indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) tests. On the basis of parallel measurements of CPV and CDV serum antibody titers in 61 paired serum samples determined by use of hemagglutination inhibition and serum neutralization methods, respectively, we considered titers > or = 1:5 (IFA test) indicative of an adequate antibody response. Age, breed, and sex were not significantly associated with adequate CPV- or CDV-specific antibody responses. Of 1,441 dogs, 1,370 (95.1%) had adequate and 71 (4.9%) had inadequate antibody responses to CPV, whereas 1,346 of 1,379 (97.6%) dogs had adequate and 33 (2.4%) had inadequate responses to CDV. Vaccination histories were available for 468 dogs (468 for CPV, 457 for CDV). Interval between last vaccination and antibody measurement was 1 to 2 years for the majority (281/468; 60.0%) of dogs and 2 to 7 years for 142 of 468 (30.3%) dogs. Interval was < 1 year in only 45 of 468 (9.6%) dogs. The high prevalence of adequate antibody responses (CPV, 95.1%; CDV, 97.6%) in this large population of dogs suggests that annual revaccination against CPV and CDV may not be necessary.
Article
Evaluating the risk of disease spill-over from domestic dogs to wildlife depends on knowledge of inter-specific contact rates and/or exposure to aetiological agents in dog environments. Here, contact rates of crab-eating foxes (Cerdocyon thous) with sympatric domestic dog populations were measured over 25months in Amazon Brazil. Foxes and dogs were serologically and clinically monitored for exposure to canine parvovirus (CPV-2) and canine distemper virus (CDV), pathogens known to have caused wildlife population declines elsewhere. Twenty-two of 24 (92%) tagged foxes visited one or more houses in a median 2 (range 1-3) villages per night where dog densities ranged from 7.2 to 15.4 per km(2) (mean 9.5 per km(2)). Foxes spent an average 6.4% (0-40.3%) of their 10h nocturnal activity period in villages, the equivalent of 38m (range 0-242) per night. The rate of potential exposure to disease agents was thus high, though varied by 3 orders of magnitude for individual foxes. Overall, 46% of the fox population was responsible for 80% of all contacts. None of the 37 monitored foxes however showed serological or clinical evidence of infection with CPV-2 or CDV. Seroprevalences for CPV-2 and CDV antibodies in the local domestic dog population were 13% (3/23) and 9% (2/23), respectively, and 89% of 97 monitored pups born during the study presented clinical signs consistent with active CPV-2 infection (haemorrhagic diarrhoea, vomiting, rapid morbidity and emaciation). Although there was no evidence for infection with either virus in foxes, the high level of contact of foxes with peridomestic habitats suggests that the probability of potential spill-over infections from dogs to foxes is high.
Article
Statistical analysis of parasitological data provides a powerful method for understanding the biological processes underlying parasite infection. However, robust and reliable analysis of parasitological data from natural and experimental infections is often difficult where: (1) the distribution of parasites between hosts is aggregated; (2) multiple measurements are made on the same individual host in longitudinal studies; or (3) data are from 'noisy' natural systems. Mixed models, which allow multiple error terms, provide an excellent opportunity to overcome these problems, and their application to the analysis of various types of parasitological data are reviewed here.
Article
Rabies in wild canids in Northeastern Brazil is frequent and has been reported for some time, with episodes of rabies transmission from these animals to humans also reported. In this study, we analyzed the antigenic and genetic profiles of the rabies virus nucleoprotein gene, isolated from 20 samples taken from domestic animals and wild canids located in the Northeastern region of Brazil. All viruses isolated from domestic animals (dogs and cats) belonged to the antigenic variant 2 (AgV2). Among the wild animal samples, only four were AgV2, and nine showed a divergent antigenic profile. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two Brazilian clusters. Cluster 1 (Brazilian domestic carnivore-related strains) showed two subclusters, called 1A and 1B, and cluster 2 (Brazilian wild canid-related strains) also showed two subclusters, called 2A and 2B. The majority of the samples with divergent antigenic strains segregated into subcluster 2A. The intracluster identity of cluster 1 was 95.6% and that of cluster 2, 92.4%. When clusters 1 and 2 were compared, an identity of 88.6% was found. The genetic analysis of wild canid samples performed in this study indicates that there are two distinct rabies cycles among canids in Brazil, one represented by domestic canids and the other by wild canids. This study shows that the virus samples isolated in Northeastern Brazil are region and species-specific.
Article
Similar to other urban areas where food and shelter are abundant, the zoological garden of Rio de Janeiro has dealt for years with a colony of feral or semi-feral domestic cats. A survey was conducted during 2002-2004 as a follow-up to a previous study in 2001 of the cat colony to identify pathogens circulating among the population and to annually follow the status of the cats to analyze morbidity coefficients and associations among infections and infestations identified in the colony. During the 3 years of the present study, 75 cats were sampled at least once, including 44 that were caught and examined only once, 14 that were examined twice, and 17 that were examined three times. For each cat that was caught, records were kept regarding sex, age, general health, and the presence of ectoparasites. Each year, a blood sample was taken for hematologic testing, platelet count, hemoparasite detection, antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii, and retrovirus detection. Blood counts were within normal range for the majority of cats tested. Feline immunodeficiency virus, fleas, and lice were detected in all years; however, incidence rates for each of these varied significantly throughout the years. Prevalence of Cytauxzoon spp., Mycoplasma spp., T. gondii infections were variable among the 3 years, although differences were not significant. Prevalence of feline leukemia virus increased significantly over the 3 years. Mycoplasma spp. and flea infestations were significantly associated, but no other associations among the pathogens were detected. Over the 3 years, the rate of new cat introductions decreased, and the pathogens showed a tendency to disseminate throughout the colony; however, there was virtually no evidence of clinically detectable disease. Therefore, it seems that stabilizing the population by a judicious control program facilitated the distribution of the pathogens throughout the colony, while the general well-being of the cats was not seriously affected.