|VIKØREN, 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: 8/31/2014
Publication Date: 1/9/2015
Citation: Vikøren, T., Klevar, S., Li, H., Germundsson, A. 2015. A geographical cluster of malignant catarrhal fever in Moose (Alces alces)in Norway. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. doi: 10.7589/2014-04-097.
Interpretive Summary: This report confirmed three cases of sheep-associated malignant catarrhal fever (SA-MCF) in free-ranging moose in Lesja, Norway between 2008 and 2010. The diagnosis was based on PCR identification of ovine herpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2) DNA and typical histopathological lesions. The study further extended to examine clinically-normal animals sampled during hunting in Lesja 2010 by serology and PCR, but did not find any evidence of subclinical infection in the sample size. The study suggests that the seasonal occurrence of several SA-MCF cases in moose in Lesja might have been the result of keeping slaughter lambs on extended autumn pasture during peak viral shedding, and thus increasing the likelihood for transmission of OvHV-2 to moose residing in the area. Management strategies are recommenced to put effort into hunter-harvest of individual moose that reside close to agricultural land, and spare others that have their home range in areas with less sheep.
Technical Abstract: Three cases of lethal sheep-associated malignant catarrhal fever (SA-MCF) in free-ranging moose (Alces alces) were diagnosed in Lesja, Norway, December 2008 – February 2010. The diagnosis was based on PCR identification of ovine herpesvirus 2 DNA (n=3) and typical histopathological lesions (n=1). To study the possibility of subclinical or latent MCF virus (MCFV) infection in this moose population and in red deer (Cervus elaphus), we examined clinically normal animals sampled during hunting in Lesja 2010, by serology and PCR. Sera from 63 moose and 33 red deer were tested for antibodies against MCFV by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. To test for MCFVs, a consensus PCR for herpesviral DNA was run on spleen samples from 23 moose and 17 red deer. All samples were antibody-negative and PCR negative. Thus, evidence of subclinical or latent infection was not found in this samples size. Extended autumn pasture periods for slaughter lambs during peak viral shedding, thus increasing the possibility of transmission of OvHV-2 to susceptible cervids in the vicinity, may explain why several seasonal cases of SA-MCF occurred in moose in Lesja during 2008-10.