The two sides of border disease in Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica): Silent persistence and population collapse

Ignasi Marco, Oscar Cabezón, Roser Velarde, Laura Fernández-Sirera, Andreu Colom-Cadena, Emmanuel Serrano, Rosa Rosell, Encarna Casas-Díaz, Santiago Lavín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015. In 2001, border disease virus (BDV) was identified as the cause of a previously unreported disease in Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) in Spain. Since then, the disease has caused a dramatic decrease, and in some cases collapse, of chamois populations and has expanded to nearly the entire distribution area in the Pyrenees. Chamois BDV was characterized as BDV-4 genotype and experimental studies confirmed that it was the primary agent of the disease. The infection has become endemic in the Central and Eastern Pyrenees. However, while most Pyrenean chamois populations have been severely affected by the disease, others have not, despite the circulation of BDV in apparently healthy individuals, suggesting the existence of different viral strategies for persisting in the host population. Changes in the interplay of pathogen, host and environmental factors may lead to the formation of different disease patterns. A key factor influencing disease emergence may be pathogen invasiveness through viral mutation. Host factors, such as behavior, immunity at the population level and genetic variability, may also have driven different epidemiological scenarios. Climatic and other ecological factors may have favored secondary infections, such as pneumonia, that under particular circumstances have been major contributing factors in the high mortality observed in some areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-77
JournalAnimal Health Research Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2015


  • Pyrenean chamois
  • Rupicapra pyrenaica
  • border disease virus
  • disease emergence
  • pestivirus


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