A cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the prevalence and circulation of bluetongue virus (BTV) in Spanish ibexes (Capra pyrenaica hispanica). A total of 770 sera samples, 380 blood samples and 34 spleen samples were collected between 2006 and 2009 in Andalusia (southern Spain), a region and time period with a wide circulation of BTV in livestock.Thirty-one out of 770 (4.0%; CI95%: 2.6-5.4) sera samples analyzed by ELISA showed antibodies against BTV. Twenty-four out of 31 seropositive samples were tested against BTV serotypes 1, 4 and 8 by serum neutralization test (SNT). Neutralizing antibodies against BTV-1 and BTV-4 were detected in seven and ten animals, respectively, four of them showed neutralizing antibodies to both serotypes. The animals seropositive to BTV-4 were sampled between 2006 and 2008, while BTV-1 circulation was confirmed in ibexes sampled between 2007 and 2009. None of the ibexes presented neutralizing antibodies against BTV-8.Statistically significant differences were found among regions and years, which is in coincidence with what occurred in domestic ruminants. There were no statistically significant differences between sexes, age classes and habitats (captivity vs. free-living).BTV RNA was not found in any of the 380 blood samples analyzed. However, BTV-1 RNA was detected from spleen in one Spanish ibex from Málaga province in August 2008. This finding evidences the presence of BTV-1 in Spanish ibex in a municipality where BT outbreaks were not detected in domestic ruminants during that period. Results of the present study show that Spanish ibexes were exposed and responded serologically to both BTV-1 and BTV-4. The low seroprevalence obtained suggests that Spanish ibex is not a relevant species in the dissemination of BT. However, the detection of BTV-1 RNA and the presence of seropositive ibexes in areas where BT outbreaks were not detected in livestock, could not exclude a significant role in the epidemiology of BTV in certain areas. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
- Spanish ibex