Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Genetic characterization of canine distemper virus in Serengeti carnivores.

Abstract

Canine distemper virus (CDV) was identified as the cause of a fatal epidemic of nervous disease, encephalitis and pneumonia in the lion population in the Serengeti in 1994. Several other species in the Serengeti were also affected. Sequence analysis of CDV H and P genes isolated from Serengeti lions (Panthera leo), spotted hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta), bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) and domestic dog (Canis familiaris) showed that the 4 Serengeti species carry closely related CDV isolates which are genetically distinct from other CDV isolates from various species and locations. It is concluded that a particularly virulent strain of CDV emerged among Serengeti carnivores within the last few years; the strain has shared-derived (synapomorphic) genetic differences in both H and P genes when compared to CDV from other parts of the world; and that the CDV strain has frequently crossed host species among Serengeti carnivores.