Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Seroprevalence of malignant catarrhal fever virus in captive wildebeest (Connochaetes sp.) in France.

Abstract

Alcelaphine herpesvirus 1 (AlHV-1) is a gammaherpesvirus carried asymptomatically by wildebeests (Connochaetes sp.) in sub-Saharan Africa. Although asymptomatic in wildebeest, AlHV-1 infection in a number of other ruminant species causes a severe and fatal lymphoproliferative disease named wildebeest-derived malignant catarrhal fever (WD-MCF). Several endangered species of captive ruminants are highly susceptible to developing WD-MCF if infected by AlHV-1, which is a critical concern in zoos, game reserves and wildlife parks where wildebeests are also kept in captivity. Here, we investigated the seroprevalence of AlHV-1 in 52 captive wildebeests randomly sampled from five different zoos in France. We found 46% (24/52) seropositive animals and detected AlHV-1 DNA in one of them, demonstrating that AlHV-1 infection is present in captive wildebeests in France. In an interesting manner, the repartition of seropositive wildebeests was not homogenous between zoos with 100% (20/20) of seronegative animals in three parks. These results further highlight the importance of considering WD-MCF as a threat for clinically susceptible species and encourage for testing AlHV-1 infection in captive wildebeests as a management control strategy.