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Prevalence of antibodies to feline parvovirus, calicivirus, herpesvirus, coronavirus, and immunodeficiency virus and of feline leukemia virus antigen and the interrelationship of these viral infections in free-ranging lions in east Africa


Hofmann-Lehmann, Regina; Fehr, Daniela; Grob, Markus; Elgizoli, Muhamed; Packer, Craig; Martenson, Janice S; O'Brien, Stephen J; Lutz, Hans (1996). Prevalence of antibodies to feline parvovirus, calicivirus, herpesvirus, coronavirus, and immunodeficiency virus and of feline leukemia virus antigen and the interrelationship of these viral infections in free-ranging lions in east Africa. Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology, 3(5):554-562.

Abstract

While viral infections and their impact are well studied in domestic cats, only limited information is available on their occurrence in free-ranging lions. The goals of the present study were (i) to investigate the prevalence of antibodies to feline calicivirus (FCV), herpesvirus (FHV), coronavirus (FCoV), parvovirus (FPV), and immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and of feline leukemia virus (FeLV) antigen in 311 serum samples collected between 1984 and 1991 from lions inhabiting Tanzania's national parks and (ii) to evaluate the possible biological importance and the interrelationship of these viral infections. Antibodies to FCV, never reported previously in free-ranging lions, were detected in 70% of the sera. In addition, a much higher prevalence of antibodies to FCoV (57%) was found than was previously reported in Etosha National Park and Kruger National Park. Titers ranged from 25 to 400. FeLV antigen was not detectable in any of the serum samples. FCoV, FCV, FHV, and FIV were endemic in the Serengeti, while a transient elevation of FPV titers pointed to an outbreak of FPV infection between 1985 and 1987. Antibody titers to FPV and FCV were highly prevalent in the Serengeti (FPV, 75%; FCV, 67%) but not in Ngorongoro Crater (FPV, 27%; FCV, 2%). These differences could be explained by the different habitats and biological histories of the two populations and by the well-documented absence of immigration of lions from the Serengeti plains into Ngorongoro Crater after 1965. These observations indicate that, although the pathological potential of these viral infections seemed not to be very high in free-ranging lions, relocation of seropositive animals by humans to seronegative lion populations must be considered very carefully.

Abstract

While viral infections and their impact are well studied in domestic cats, only limited information is available on their occurrence in free-ranging lions. The goals of the present study were (i) to investigate the prevalence of antibodies to feline calicivirus (FCV), herpesvirus (FHV), coronavirus (FCoV), parvovirus (FPV), and immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and of feline leukemia virus (FeLV) antigen in 311 serum samples collected between 1984 and 1991 from lions inhabiting Tanzania's national parks and (ii) to evaluate the possible biological importance and the interrelationship of these viral infections. Antibodies to FCV, never reported previously in free-ranging lions, were detected in 70% of the sera. In addition, a much higher prevalence of antibodies to FCoV (57%) was found than was previously reported in Etosha National Park and Kruger National Park. Titers ranged from 25 to 400. FeLV antigen was not detectable in any of the serum samples. FCoV, FCV, FHV, and FIV were endemic in the Serengeti, while a transient elevation of FPV titers pointed to an outbreak of FPV infection between 1985 and 1987. Antibody titers to FPV and FCV were highly prevalent in the Serengeti (FPV, 75%; FCV, 67%) but not in Ngorongoro Crater (FPV, 27%; FCV, 2%). These differences could be explained by the different habitats and biological histories of the two populations and by the well-documented absence of immigration of lions from the Serengeti plains into Ngorongoro Crater after 1965. These observations indicate that, although the pathological potential of these viral infections seemed not to be very high in free-ranging lions, relocation of seropositive animals by humans to seronegative lion populations must be considered very carefully.

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Item Type:Journal Article, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Farm Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:September 1996
Deposited On:28 Dec 2016 10:19
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 21:40
Publisher:American Society for Microbiology
ISSN:1071-412X
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
PubMed ID:8877134
Other Identification Number:PMC170405

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