Trebbien, Ramona1; Chriél, Mariann1; Struve, Tina4; Hjulsager, Charlotte Kristiane1; Larsen, Gitte1; Larsen, Lars Erik1
1 National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark2 Section for Virology, National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark3 Section for Public sector service and commercial diagnostics, National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark4 Kopenhagen Diagnostics
A major outbreak of canine distemper virus (CDV) in Danish farmed mink (Neovison vison) started in the late summer period of 2012. At the same time, a high number of diseased and dead wildlife species such as foxes, raccoon dogs, and ferrets were observed. To track the origin of the outbreak virus full-length sequencing of the receptor binding surface protein hemagglutinin (H) was performed on 26 CDV's collected from mink and 10 CDV's collected from wildlife species. Subsequent phylogenetic analyses showed that the virus circulating in the mink farms and wildlife were highly identical with an identity at the nucleotide level of 99.45% to 100%. The sequences could be grouped by single nucleotide polymorphisms according to geographical distribution of mink farms and wildlife. The signaling lymphocytic activation molecule (SLAM) receptor binding region in most viruses from both mink and wildlife contained G at position 530 and Y at position 549; however, three mink viruses had an Y549H substitution. The outbreak viruses clustered phylogenetically in the European lineage and were highly identical to wildlife viruses from Germany and Hungary (99.29% - 99.62%). The study furthermore revealed that fleas (Ceratophyllus sciurorum) contained CDV and that vertical transmission of CDV occurred in a wild ferret. The study provides evidence that wildlife species, such as foxes, play an important role in the transmission of CDV to farmed mink and that the virus may be maintained in the wild animal reservoir between outbreaks.