June 28, 2022

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Why is it important to monitor wildlife health?

Public health and animal health are interconnected and linked to the ecosystems in which they coexist. Wild species are becoming more important in this context, as they share many diseases with native species and even with humans.

Diseases in wildlife, if any, are more complex to detect, treat, manage, control and eradicate. On the other hand, the increase in population density of some wild species and the regional pressure they are subjected to means that contact with domestic species and humans in rural and urban environments is becoming more and more frequent. everything looks like Favored by climate change and human behavior.

Health monitoring in wildlife such as wild boar or deer is simple, because detecting potential diseases and sampling is relatively easy and affordable while hunting.

Conversely, the observation of non-hunting wild species such as mustelids (weasel, stoat, ferret, mink, martins, otters, badgers) is in most cases more complex and practically limited to Study of animals found dead or sick in the field or on the roads. However, they are relevant as in game genres.

animal tuberculosis

Zoonotic tuberculosis is a zoonotic disease caused by the Mycobacterium complex bacteria Mycobacterial tuberculosis, whose host range includes many species of wild and domestic mammals, and, of course, humans.

Since the middle of the last century, livestock sanitation campaigns have attempted to control and eliminate the disease at the European level, due to the danger it poses to humans. However, there are wild reservoirs that are able to maintain infection among their population which makes them difficult to eradicate.

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On the Iberian Peninsula, recognized wild reservoirs for tuberculosis include wild boar, deer, and fallow deer in the south-central part of the territory. Although in some Atlantic environments, badgers (smooth smooth) is becoming increasingly important as a potential reservoir for tuberculosis.

employment A recently published study We determined the prevalence of tuberculosis in this species during a 13-year period in Asturias, showing to be 4.23% in the analysis by culture and 23.77% by sera.

Furthermore, tuberculosis in badgers in 2008-2020 was associated with the presence of tuberculosis in domestic cattle. This study was unable to determine the direction of potential tuberculosis transmission between these species, but it confirmed that both hosts can exert infection pressure on each other.

canine fever virus

Canine fever virus (CDV) is closely related to the human measles virus and rinderpest virus, all of which are included in the genus Morbellivirus. For centuries, viruses of this genus have caused devastating outbreaks among humans and animals, which are among the most contagious and deadly viruses out there, and are only controlled through vaccination.

As a typical canine disease, disease outbreaks with high mortality have occurred worldwide in recent years in wild populations of dogs, cats, cats, and even non-human primates.

Between 2020 and 2021, we recorded in Asturias mortality due to a highly pathogenic strain of CDV in four species of wild carnivores: badgers, marten (Tuesday Tuesday), Torun (Mustela Potorius) and the fox (foxes). Clinical signs and pathology were similar across all species, with a clear affinity for the virus for lymphoid tissue, central nervous system, and respiratory system.

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Badger brain showing canine fever virus (in red) inside neurons. Immunofluorescence staining.
Oleaga et al. (2021)

The Genetic analysis of CDV showed that it belongs to European ancestry, with 98% homogeneity with the closest strains. In addition, a retrospective serological study (2008–2020) detected antibodies against CDV in 43.4% of approximately 700 badgers studied, which is a higher proportion than was obtained in previous studies by other authors in wolf ( 19%) and the fox (22%). .).

The results reveal that the canine fever virus is well adapted to wildlife, without seriously affecting its population dynamics. Therefore, it is very likely that the virus is endemic in that region and that outbreaks are recorded every certain time period, such as those that occurred in 2020-2021.

This disease is especially important from the point of view of protecting species such as the Cantabrian bear, because although there have been no clinical cases of tuberculosis in brown bears in Europe, antibodies against it have been detected in bear populations. in Slovakia and Italy.

Vaccination of domestic dogs can be an essential tool in the prevention of possible transmission of the virus between species, because although it is included in the vaccination calendar, vaccination against tuberculosis is not mandatory in dogs in Spain.

As reflected by these two examples, the epidemiology of multimodal infections is complex. And they can’t be controlled, which is especially difficult, unless all of the pets or wild animals involved are covered.Conversation

Anna BalseroDepartment of Teaching Animal Health Workers, University of Lyon

This article was originally published Conversation. Read the A native.

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