Since its emergence in the 1970s, canine parvovirus (CPV) has been reported in domestic and nondomestic carnivores worldwide with severe implications on their health and survival. Here, we aim to better understand CPV circulation in multihost-pathogens systems by characterizing CPV DNA or viruses in 227 free-ranging wild carnivores of 12 species from Portugal. Collected samples during 1995–2011 were analyzed by PCR and sequence analysis. The canine parvovirus DNA was detected in 4 (2%) animals of two species, namely in wolves (Canis lupus; 3/63, 5%, 95% confidence interval=1.6–3.15) and in a stone marten (Martes foina; 1/36, 3%, 95% confidence interval=0.5–14.2). Viruses in two wolves had VP2 residue 426 as aspartic acid (so-called CPV-2b) and the third had VP2 residue 426 as asparagine (CPV-2a), while the virus in the stone marten uniquely had VP2 residue 426 as glutamic acid (CPV-2c). The comparative analysis of the full-length VP2 gene of our isolates showed other nonsynonymous mutations. The phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the sequences from wolves clustered together, showing a close relationship with European domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and wolf strains while the viral sequence from the stone marten grouped with other viruses contained the glutamic acid VP2 426 along with raccoon (Procyon lotor), bobcat (Lynx rufus), and domestic dog strains. This study confirmed that wild carnivores in Portugal are infected by CPV variants, strongly suggesting viral transmission between the wild and domestic populations and suggesting a need for a better understanding of the epidemiology of the disease and its management in wild populations.
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Vol. 53 • No. 4