Canine distemper is a high-impact disease of many mammal species and has caused substantial carnivore population declines. Analysis was conducted on passive surveillance data of canine distemper (CDV)–positive wild mammal cases submitted to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Athens, Georgia, US, between January 1975 and December 2019. Overall, 964 cases from 17 states were CDV positive, including 646 raccoons (Procyon lotor), 254 gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), 33 striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), 18 coyotes (Canis latrans), four red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), three gray wolves (Canis lupus), three American black bears (Ursus americanus), two American mink (Mustela vison), and one long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata). Raccoon and gray fox case data from the state of Georgia (n=441) were selected for further analysis. Autoregressive integrated moving average models were developed predicting raccoon and gray fox case numbers. The best-performing model for gray foxes used numbers of gray fox CDV cases from the previous 2 mo and of raccoon cases in the present month to predict the numbers of gray fox cases in the present month. The best-performing model for raccoon prediction used numbers of raccoon CDV cases from the previous month and of gray fox cases in the present month and previous 2 mo to predict numbers of raccoon cases in the present month. Temporal trends existed in CDV cases for both species, with cases more likely to occur during the breeding season. Spatial clustering of cases was more likely to occur in areas of medium to high human population density; fewer cases occurred in both the most densely populated and sparsely populated areas. This pattern was most prominent for raccoons, which may correspond to high transmission rates in suburban areas, where raccoon population densities are probably highest, possibly because of a combination of suitable habitat and supplemental resources.
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Vol. 57 • No. 4