New Potential Role of European Mouflon (Ovis aries musimon) in the Epidemiology of Border Disease in the Pyrenees

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Abstract

Since 2001, high-mortality outbreaks of border disease (BD) have negatively affected populations of Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica). Studies in the affected areas determined that sympatric wild ruminants did not seem to have an epidemiologic role in the circulation of border disease virus (BDV). However, the recent increase in European mouflon (Ovis aries musimon) densities might enhance the risk of pathogen transmission among chamois and mouflons. We conducted a serologic and virologic investigation of BDV in European mouflon from the Spanish Pyrenees, with the aim of determining potential changes in the role of this species in BDV epidemiology. From 2018 to 2022, we detected antibodies against BDV in 31/185 (16.7%) animals but did not detect BDV RNA in any spleen sample (0/65). These results indicate that BDV infection is occurring in these mouflon populations to a greater extent than previously described, which could shift the current understanding of BD epidemiology in the Pyrenees and cause an unpredictable effect on both chamois and mouflon populations. Further studies on the molecular identification of BDV in mouflon and chamois are required to better understand the contribution of mouflon in the epidemiology of BD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-790
JournalJournal of Wildlife Diseases
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Mouflon
  • Pestivirus D
  • Pyrenean chamois
  • border disease
  • multihost disease

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