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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Prevention of Malignant Catarrhal Fever (Mcf) in a Mixed Species Wild Animal Game Park by Production of Virus-Free Mouflon Sheep

Authors
item Cooley, A - MISSISSIPPI ST UNIV
item TAUS, NAOMI
item LI, HONG

Submitted to: American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2006
Publication Date: October 15, 2006
Citation: Cooley, A.J., Taus, N.S., Li, H. 2006. Prevention of malignant catarrhal fever (mcf) in a mixed species wild animal game park by production of virus-free mouflon sheep. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. 97.

Interpretive Summary: A mixed species game park in North Carolina experienced an acute outbreak of deaths in Pere David's deer, axis deer, blackbuck antelope, whitetail deer and elk. Clinical signs varied from fulminant disease progressing from depression to bloody scours to death in fewer than four days in Pere David's deer to a more protracted form of disease, ranging from two weeks to three months in axis deer. Laboratory findings revealed high levels of anti-MCF virus antibody by cELISA in axis deer presented in a moribund state to the Rollins North Carolina Diagnostic Laboratory. Ovine herpesvirus-2 (OvHV-2) DNA was also detected in peripheral blood leukocytes of the affected axis deer. No other MCF viruses were detected, although wildebeest, goats and other MCF virus-carriers were present in the park. Retrospective examination of frozen tissue samples from Pere David's deer and black-buck antelope also confirmed the presence of OvHV-2 DNA. The possible OvHV-2 reservoirs in the park included domestic and non-domestic sheep among which the most prevalent ovine species was the mouflon sheep. Both the mouflon and axis deer, a species in which deaths were numerous, had been on the premise for 9 years. To prevent further losses, the initial recommendation was removal of the mouflon sheep, and other ovine species and goats. Subsequently MCF virus-free mouflon sheep were produced and reintroduced to the park. No further cases of MCF have occurred since the removal of OvHV-2 positive mouflon sheep and reintroduction of the virus-free lambs about 2.5 years ago. This is the first time that MCF virus-free mouflon sheep derived by early weaning from positive ewes have been reintroduced to a densely populated animal park with multiple susceptible species. Management control of MCF in high population animal parks is possible and practical with such techniques.

Technical Abstract: A mixed species game park in North Carolina experienced an acute outbreak of deaths in Pere David's deer, axis deer, blackbuck antelope, whitetail deer and elk. Clinical signs varied from fulminant disease progressing from depression to bloody scours to death in fewer than four days in Pere David's deer to a more protracted form of disease, ranging from two weeks to three months in axis deer. Laboratory findings revealed high levels of anti-MCF virus antibody by cELISA in axis deer presented in a moribund state to the Rollins North Carolina Diagnostic Laboratory. Ovine herpesvirus-2 (OvHV-2) DNA was also detected in peripheral blood leukocytes of the affected axis deer. No other MCF viruses were detected, although wildebeest, goats and other MCF virus-carriers were present in the park. Retrospective examination of frozen tissue samples from Pere David's deer and black-buck antelope also confirmed the presence of OvHV-2 DNA. The possible OvHV-2 reservoirs in the park included domestic and non-domestic sheep among which the most prevalent ovine species was the mouflon sheep. Both the mouflon and axis deer, a species in which deaths were numerous, had been on the premise for 9 years. To prevent further losses, the initial recommendation was removal of the mouflon sheep, and other ovine species and goats. Subsequently MCF virus-free mouflon sheep were produced and reintroduced to the park. No further cases of MCF have occurred since the removal of OvHV-2 positive mouflon sheep and reintroduction of the virus-free lambs about 2.5 years ago. This is the first time that MCF virus-free mouflon sheep derived by early weaning from positive ewes have been reintroduced to a densely populated animal park with multiple susceptible species. Management control of MCF in high population animal parks is possible and practical with such techniques.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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