In 2001 and 2002, an outbreak of a previously unreported disease, associated with a border disease virus (BDV), caused high mortality in the Southern chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) population in the Alt Pallars-Aran National Hunting Reserve in the Catalan Pyrenees (NE Spain). Between 2002 and 2006, sera and/or tissue samples taken from 116 healthy chamois shot during the hunting season, plus 42 from chamois affected by different diseases, were studied. A blocking enzyme-immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to study pestivirus seroprevalence in 114 healthy hunted and 31 diseased chamois, yielding positive results in 73.7 and 22.6% of the chamois, respectively. Comparative virus neutralization tests (VNT) performed on 42 seropositive samples with 6 pestivirus strains yielded statistically higher titres to BDV Spain 97, followed by BDV chamois, BDV 137/4, BDV Moredun, Bovine Diarrhoea virus-1 (BVDV-1) NADL and BVDV-2 atypical. Virological investigations for pestivirus detection were performed using an antigen ELISA test in 82 healthy and 18 diseased chamois, RT-PCR in 16 healthy and in all diseased chamois, and virus isolation in 14 diseased chamois. No viral antigen was detected in any of the healthy animals. A pestivirus, characterized as BDV by monoclonal antibodies, was detected in the 10 chamois showing clinical signs consistent with BDV infection. Sequence analysis in the 5′ unstranslated region (5′-UTR) revealed that they were grouped into the BDV-4 genotype. In the remaining chamois, infectious keratoconjunctivitis, pneumonia, trauma and contagious ecthyma were diagnosed. The cause of death was unknown in five chamois. The results suggest that the infection has become endemic in the population and that it could have a significant impact on chamois population dynamics. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Border disease virus
- Rupicapra pyrenaica