Experimental infection of pregnant pyrenean chamois (rupicapra pyrenaica) with border disease virus subtype 4

Claire Martin, Véronique Duquesne, Jean Michel Guibert, Coralie Pulido, Emmanuelle Gilot-Fromont, Philippe Gibert, Roser Velarde, Richard Thiéry, Ignasi Marco, Eric Dubois

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Border disease virus (BDV) causes high mortality in Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) on the French and Spanish sides of the Pyrenees Mountains. We investigated the pathology induced by BDV in pregnant chamois via experimental infection. Three females were inoculated during the second third of pregnancy with a BDV-4 subgroup strain isolated from a wild Pyrenean chamois during an acute epizootic. A fourth pregnant chamois and one nonpregnant ewe were kept as negative controls. Animals were monitored to assess clinical signs, hematology, viremia, and serology. Postmortem examinations included necropsy, histopathology, and quantification of viral RNA in organs. Pregnancy was unsuccessful in all inoculated animals. One died 24 days postinoculation (dpi) without showing any precursory clinical signs. The second animal had profuse diarrhea from 13 dpi to its death at 51 dpi. The third aborted at 46 dpi and was euthanized at 51 dpi. All animals were viremic from 4 dpi until death. Neutralizing antibodies against BDV-4 were detected from 12 dpi. Necropsies showed generalized lymphadenomegaly, associated in one case with disseminated petechial hemorrhages in the digestive tract. Seventyeight of 79 organs from inoculated adults and their fetuses had detectable viral RNA. The main histologic lesions in adults were mild lymphohistiocytic encephalitis associated with moderate or moderately severe lymphoid depletion. Control animals remained negative for virus (in blood and organs), antibody, and lesions upon postmortem examination. BDV infection during pregnancy in Pyrenean chamois causes severe disease leading to abortion, then death. Despite 100% fetal death following inoculation, viral RNA was recovered from all organs of infected fetuses, suggesting that persistently infected offspring could be born. Our results may help explain the reported decrease in chamois populations in several areas and suggest that great care must be taken when interpreting infection status for wildlife. © Wildlife Disease Association 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-68
JournalJournal of Wildlife Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Border disease virus
  • Experimental infection
  • Pathogenicity
  • Pestivirus
  • Pregnancy
  • Pyrenean chamois
  • Rupicapra pyrenaica


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