|VIKOREN, T - Norwegian Veterinary Institute|
|KLEVAR, S - Norwegian Veterinary Institute|
|GERMUNDSSON, A - Norwegian Veterinary Institute|
Submitted to: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/11/2012
Publication Date: 4/1/2013
Citation: Vikoren, T., Klevar, S., Li, H., Germundsson, A. 2013. Malignant catarrhal fever virus identified in free-ranging musk ox (Ovibos moschatus) in Norway . Journal of Wildlife Diseases. doi:10.7589/WD.2012-10-259.
Interpretive Summary: The study was designed to determine whether free ranging Norwegian musk ox are infected with a malignant catarrhal fever virus (MCFV) and which MCFV they are infected with. Sera and spleen samples from 101 musk ox were collected in 2004-2011 from a free-ranging population in Dovrefjell, Norway and examined by a serological test (cELISA) for antibodies against MCFV and by a consensus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for herpesviral DNA and sequencing identification. The results showed that 90% of the musk ox were infected and the prevalence increased with age. Sequencing analysis showed that the virus in all the PCR positive animals was identical to the MCFV previously identified in musk oxen in North-America. This is the first report of MCFV-Muskox infection in free-ranging musk ox outside North-America.
Technical Abstract: To study the epizootiology of malignant catarrhal fever viruses (MCFV), sera and spleen samples collected in 2004-2011 from a free-ranging musk ox (Ovibos moschatus) population in Dovrefjell, Norway, were examined. Sera were tested for antibodies against MCFV by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, whilst spleen samples were examined by a consensus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for herpesviral DNA and sequencing identification. The study included 101 musk oxen, of which 61 were examined with both tests. Antibodies against MCFV were found in 65/72 musk oxen (90%). The seroprevalence increased with age from 67% in calves to 96% in adults. MCFV DNA was detected by consensus PCR in 67/90 spleen samples tested (74%). The prevalence of PCR positive musk oxen increased with age from 60% in calves to 81% in adults. Fifty (82%) of the 61 musk oxen subjected to both PCR and serology were positive in both tests. Sequencing analysis showed that all the PCR positive animals were infected with a MCFVpreviously identified in musk oxen in North-America. The results suggest that MCFV-Muskox is enzootic in the Dovrefjell musk ox population, and that many calves seem to be infected early in life. This is the first report of MCFV-Muskox infection in free-ranging musk ox outside North-America.