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1 April 2015 ALEUTIAN MINK DISEASE VIRUS IN STRIPED SKUNKS (MEPHITIS MEPHITIS): EVIDENCE FOR CROSS-SPECIES SPILLOVER
Larissa A. Nituch, Jeff Bowman, Paul J. Wilson, Albrecht I. Schulte-Hostedde
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Abstract

Aleutian mink disease virus (AMDV) causes a parvovirus infection, initially characterized in American mink (Neovison vison), that may have harmful effects on wild populations of susceptible animals. In North America, where American mink are native, the origin, host range, and prevalence of AMDV in wild species is not clear. We studied striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) and raccoons (Procyon lotor) to determine whether species sympatric with mink are potential reservoirs in the transmission of AMDV to wild mink and mink farms. Antibodies to AMDV were detected in 41% of skunk serum samples (143/347) and AMDV nucleic acids were detected in 32% (14/40) of skunk spleen samples by PCR, indicating that AMDV exposure and infection were frequent in skunks. We detected no AMDV antibodies in 144 raccoon blood samples. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a newly identified AMDV haplogroup consisting of isolates from Ontario skunks and a free-ranging domestic mink from Ontario. Our findings of frequent AMDV infection in skunks, close genetic similarity between skunk and mink AMDV isolates, and evidence of AMDV transmission from skunks to mink support the hypothesis that skunks may be acting as alternative hosts and reservoirs of AMDV to wild mink through cross-species virus spillover.

Wildlife Disease Association 2015
Larissa A. Nituch, Jeff Bowman, Paul J. Wilson, and Albrecht I. Schulte-Hostedde "ALEUTIAN MINK DISEASE VIRUS IN STRIPED SKUNKS (MEPHITIS MEPHITIS): EVIDENCE FOR CROSS-SPECIES SPILLOVER," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 51(2), 389-400, (1 April 2015). https://doi.org/10.7589/2014-05-141
Received: 30 May 2014; Accepted: 1 December 2014; Published: 1 April 2015
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
Aleutian mink disease virus
American mink
disease
raccoons
spillover
striped skunks
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