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11 October 2021 Identification and Prevalence of a Gammaherpesvirus in Free-Ranging Northern Brown Bandicoots (Isoodon macrourus)
Charlotte Langhorne, Jennifer Sullivan, Julia Hoy, Steven Kopp, Peter Murray, Lee McMichael
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Abstract

Herpesviruses have been reported in several Australian marsupial species, with an overt, sometimes fatal disease described in macropods. Our study identifies a gammaherpesvirus in northern brown bandicoots (Isoodon macrourus) and provides virus prevalence data for bandicoots in southeast Queensland, Australia. Herpesvirus DNA was detected using pan-Herpesviridae family primers in a nested PCR format. Samples from 35 northern brown bandicoots were screened, including whole blood (n=29), oropharyngeal swabs (n=34), urine (n=22), and feces (n=23). Combining all sample types, herpesvirus DNA was detected at a total prevalence of 51% (18/35). Whole blood and oropharyngeal swabs proved to be the optimal samples for detection of this virus, with prevalences of 34% and 38%, respectively. Herpesvirus DNA was detected in 4.5% (1/22) of urine samples and not at all in fecal samples. Detection of herpesvirus was more likely in males than females. Animals were trapped at eight different locations, and at all but one location at least one herpesvirus positive animal was detected. This study indicates a high prevalence of the virus within northern brown bandicoot populations in southeast Queensland. Further research is required to understand the clinical manifestations, if any, of herpesvirus infection in this species and how this may affect populations in the face of stressors such as land clearing and habitat fragmentation.

© Wildlife Disease Association 2021
Charlotte Langhorne, Jennifer Sullivan, Julia Hoy, Steven Kopp, Peter Murray, and Lee McMichael "Identification and Prevalence of a Gammaherpesvirus in Free-Ranging Northern Brown Bandicoots (Isoodon macrourus)," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 57(4), 912-916, (11 October 2021). https://doi.org/10.7589/JWD-D-20-00166
Received: 23 September 2020; Accepted: 4 May 2021; Published: 11 October 2021
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