: Phocine Distemper Virus in Seals
In 2006 and 2007, elevated numbers of deaths among seals, constituting an unusual mortality event, occurred off the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts, United States. We isolated a virus from seal tissue and confirmed it as phocine distemper virus (PDV). We compared the viral hemagglutinin, phosphoprotein, and fusion (F) and matrix (M) protein gene sequences with those of viruses from the 1988 and 2002 PDV epizootics. The virus showed highest similarity with a PDV 1988 Netherlands virus, which raises the possibility that the 2006 isolate from the United States might have emerged independently from 2002 PDVs and that multiple lineages of PDV might be circulating among enzootically infected North American seals. Evidence from comparison of sequences derived from different tissues suggested that mutations in the F and M genes occur in brain tissue that are not present in lung, liver, or blood, which suggests virus persistence in the central nervous system.
Phocine distemper virus; morbilliviruses; epizootic; genomic sequence; phylogeny; central nervous system; persistent infection; mutations; United States; research
Outbreaks of phocine distemper virus (PDV) in Europe during 1988 and 2002 were responsible for the death of around 23,000 and 30,000 harbour seals, respectively. These epidemics, particularly the one in 2002, provided an unusual opportunity to estimate epidemic parameters for a wildlife disease. There were marked regional differences in the values of some parameters both within and between epidemics.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We used an individual-based model of seal movement that allowed us to incorporate realistic representations of space, time and animal behaviour into a traditional epidemiological modelling framework. We explored the potential influence of a range of ecological (foraging trip duration, time of epidemic onset, population size) and epidemiological (length of infectious period, contact rate between infectious and susceptible individuals, case mortality) parameters on four readily-measurable epidemic characteristics (number of dead individuals, duration of epidemic, peak mortality date and prevalence) and on the probability that an epidemic would occur in a particular region. We analysed the outputs as if they were the results of a series of virtual experiments, using Generalised Linear Modelling. All six variables had a significant effect on the probability that an epidemic would be recognised as an unusual mortality event by human observers.
Regional and temporal variation in contact rate was the most likely cause of the observed differences between the two epidemics. This variation could be a consequence of differences in the way individuals divide their time between land and sea at different times of the year.
During the 2002 phocine distemper epidemic, 2,284 seals, primarily harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), were found stranded along the Dutch coast. Stranding pattern varied with age, sex, state of decomposition, wind, and location. Cumulative proportion of deaths (54%) was comparable to that in the first reported epidemic in 1988.
Epidemiology; Phocine distemper virus; Phoca vitulina; the Netherlands; dispatch
Analyses of the dynamics of diseases in wild populations typically assume all individuals to be identical. However, profound effects on the long-term impact on the host population can be expected if the disease has age and sex dependent dynamics. The Phocine Distemper Virus (PDV) caused two mass mortalities in European harbour seals in 1988 and in 2002. We show the mortality patterns were highly age specific on both occasions, where young of the year and adult (>4 yrs) animals suffered extremely high mortality, and sub-adult seals (1–3 yrs) of both sexes experienced low mortality. Consequently, genetic differences cannot have played a main role explaining why some seals survived and some did not in the study region, since parents had higher mortality levels than their progeny. Furthermore, there was a conspicuous absence of animals older than 14 years among the victims in 2002, which strongly indicates that the survivors from the previous disease outbreak in 1988 had acquired and maintained immunity to PDV. These specific mortality patterns imply that contact rates and susceptibility to the disease are strongly age and sex dependent variables, underlining the need for structured epidemic models for wildlife diseases. Detailed data can thus provide crucial information about a number of vital parameters such as functional herd immunity. One of many future challenges in understanding the epidemiology of the PDV and other wildlife diseases is to reveal how immune system responses differ among animals in different stages during their life cycle. The influence of such underlying mechanisms may also explain the limited evidence for abrupt disease thresholds in wild populations.
Heterogeneities in transmission among hosts can be very important in shaping infectious disease dynamics. In mammals with strong social organization, such heterogeneities are often structured by functional stage: juveniles, subadults and adults. We investigate the importance of such stage-related heterogeneities in shaping the 2002 phocine distemper virus (PDV) outbreak in the Dutch Wadden Sea, when more than 40 per cent of the harbour seals were killed. We do this by comparing the statistical fit of a hierarchy of models with varying transmission complexity: homogeneous versus heterogeneous mixing and density- versus frequency-dependent transmission. We use the stranding data as a proxy for incidence and use Poisson likelihoods to estimate the ‘who acquires infection from whom’ (WAIFW) matrix. Statistically, the model with strong heterogeneous mixing and density-dependent transmission was found to best describe the transmission dynamics. However, patterns of incidence support a model of frequency-dependent transmission among adults and juveniles. Based on the maximum-likelihood WAIFW matrix estimates, we use the next-generation formalism to calculate an R0 between 2 and 2.5 for the Dutch 2002 PDV epidemic.
phocine distemper virus; harbour seals; Phoca vitulina; stage-structured transmission; who acquires infection from whom matrix; next-generation matrix
Thousands of Caspian seals (Phoca caspica) died in the Caspian Sea from April to August 2000. Lesions characteristic of morbillivirus infection were found in tissue specimens from dead seals. Canine distemper virus infection was identified by serologic examination, reverse transcriptase- polymerase chain reaction, and sequencing of selected P gene fragments. These results implicate canine distemper virus infection as the primary cause of death.
Phocine distemper virus (PDV) has caused 2 epidemics in harbor seals in the Atlantic Ocean but had never been identified in any Pacific Ocean species. We found that northern sea otters in Alaska are infected with PDV, which has created a disease threat to several sympatric and decreasing Pacific marine mammals.
Viruses; phocine distemper virus; northern sea otters; Alaska; Pacific Ocean; dispatch
The nucleotide sequences encoding the matrix (M) proteins of measles virus (MV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) were determined from cDNA clones containing these genes in their entirety. In both cases, single open reading frames specifying basic proteins of 335 amino acid residues were predicted from the nucleotide sequences. Both viral messages were composed of approximately 1,450 nucleotides and contained 400 nucleotides of presumptive noncoding sequences at their respective 3' ends. MV and CDV M-protein-coding regions were 67% homologous at the nucleotide level and 76% homologous at the amino acid level. Only chance homology was observed in the 400-nucleotide trailer sequences. Comparisons of the M protein sequences of MV and CDV with the sequence reported for Sendai virus (B. M. Blumberg, K. Rose, M. G. Simona, L. Roux, C. Giorgi, and D. Kolakofsky, J. Virol. 52:656-663; Y. Hidaka, T. Kanda, K. Iwasaki, A. Nomoto, T. Shioda, and H. Shibuta, Nucleic Acids Res. 12:7965-7973) indicated the greatest homology among these M proteins in the carboxyterminal third of the molecule. Secondary-structure analyses of this shared region indicated a structurally conserved, hydrophobic sequence which possibly interacted with the lipid bilayer.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) infects many carnivores, including ferrets and dogs, and is the member of the Morbillivirus genus most easily amenable to experimentation in a homologous small-animal system. To gain insights into the determinants of CDV pathogenesis, we isolated a strain highly virulent for ferrets by repeated passaging in these animals. Sequence comparison of the genome of this strain with that of its highly attenuated precursor revealed 19 mutations distributed almost evenly in the six genes. We then recovered a virus from a cDNA copy of the virulent CDV strain's consensus sequence by using a modified reverse genetics system based on B cells. We infected ferrets with this virus and showed that it fully retained virulence as measured by the timing of rash appearance, disease onset, and death. Body temperature, leukocyte number, lymphocyte proliferation activity, and cell-associated viremia also had similar kinetics. We then addressed the question of the relative importance of the envelope and other viral constituents for virulence. Viruses in which the envelope genes (matrix, fusion, and hemagglutinin) of the virulent strain were combined with the other genes of the attenuated strain caused severe rash and fever even if the disease onset was delayed. Viruses in which the nucleocapsid, polymerase, and phosphoprotein genes (coding also for the V and C proteins) of the virulent strain were combined with the envelope genes of the attenuated strain caused milder signs of disease. Thus, virulence-inducing mutations have accumulated throughout the genome.
Canine distemper virus (CDV), a lymphotropic and neurotropic negative-stranded RNA virus of the Morbillivirus genus, causes a life-threatening disease in several carnivores, including domestic dogs. To identify the cellular receptor(s) involved in the uptake of CDV by susceptible cells, we isolated a monoclonal antibody (MAb K41) which binds to the cell surface and inhibits the CDV infection of several cell lines from various species. Pretreatment of cells with MAb K41 reduces the number of infectious centers and the size of the syncytia. Using affinity chromatography with MAb K41, we purified from HeLa and Vero cell extracts a 26-kDa protein which contained the amino acid sequence TKDEPQRETLK of human CD9, a member of the tetraspan transmembrane or transmembrane 4 superfamily of cell surface proteins. Transfection of NIH 3T3 or MDBK cells with a CD9 expression plasmid rendered these cells permissive for viral infection and raised virus production by a factor of 10 to 100. The mechanism involved is still unclear, since we were unable to detect direct binding of CDV to CD9 by using immunoprecipitation and a virus overlay protein binding assay. These findings indicate that human CD9 and its homologs in other species are necessary factors for the uptake of CDV by target cells, the formation of syncytia, and the production of progeny virus.
A new isolate of canine distemper virus (CDV), named ZJ7, was isolated from lung tissues of a dog suspected with CDV infection using MDCK cells. The ZJ7 isolate induced cytopathogenic effects of syncytia in MDCK cell after six passages. In order to evaluate pathogenesis of ZJ7 strain, three CDV sero-negative dogs were intranasally inoculated with its virus suspension. All infected dogs developed clinical signs of severe bloody diarrhea, conjunctivitis, ocular discharge, nasal discharge and coughing, fever and weight loss at 21 dpi, whereas the mock group infected with DMEM were normal. The results demonstrated that CDV-ZJ7 strain isolated by MDCK cell was virulent, and the nucleotide and amino acid sequences of strain ZJ7 had no change after isolation by MDCK cell when compared with the original virus from the fresh tissues. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses for the nucleocapsid (N), phosphoprotein (P) and receptor binding haemagglutinin (H) gene of the ZJ7 isolate clearly showed it is joins to the Asia 1 group cluster of CDV strains, the predominant genotype in China.
Canine distemper virus (CDV); MDCK; Genotype; Phylogenetic analysis; Pathogenesis; Virulence
Although the presence of Asia 2 group of canine distemper virus (CDV) was known by the sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of hemagglutinin (H) gene, the fusion (F) protein gene sequence of Asia 2 group had not been identified. So, the sequence analysis of F gene was carried out to elucidate the genotypic varaitons among Asian isolates.
The phylogenetic analysis of F and H gene sequences from fourteen CDV isolates obtained from diseased dogs in Japan and Thailand indicated that the F genes had a new initiation codon and extra 27 nucleotides upstream of the usual open reading frame (ORF) and the F proteins had extra 9 amino acids at the N-terminal position only in Asia 2 isolates. On the contrary, the Asia 1 isolates had three extra putative N-glycosylation sites (two sites in the signal peptide region and one site in the F1 region) except for two strains of Th12 and Ac96I (two sites in signal peptide region) adding to four putative N-glycosylation sites that were conserved among all Asian isolates and Onderstepoort strain. In addition to this difference in N-glycosylation sites, the signal peptide region had a great diversity between Asia 1 and Asia 2 isolates. Also, characteristic amino acids were detected for some strains.
Asia 2 isolates were distinguished from other CDV lineages by the extra 27 nucleotide sequence. The signal peptide region of F gene gives a remarkable differentiation between Asia 1 and Asia 2 isolates. Strains Th12 and Ac96I were differentiated from other Asia 1 strains by the F protein glycosylation sites.
A new strain of canine distemper virus, HLJ1-06, has been isolated from foxes in China, and its complete genome has been sequenced and analyzed. The phylogenetic analysis suggests that HLJ1-06 belongs to the Asia-1 cluster and has low identity to the vaccine strain.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a negative-sense, single-stranded RNA virus within the genus Morbillivirus and the family Paramyxoviridae. The Morbillivirus genome is composed of six transcriptional units that are separated by untranslated regions (UTRs), which are relatively uniform in length, with the exception of the UTR between the matrix (M) and fusion (F) genes. This UTR is at least three times longer and in the case of CDV also highly variable. Exchange of the M-F region between different CDV strains did not affect virulence or disease phenotype, demonstrating that this region is functionally interchangeable. Viruses carrying the deletions in the M 3′ UTR replicated more efficiently, which correlated with a reduction of virulence, suggesting that overall length as well as specific sequence motifs distributed throughout the region contribute to virulence.
Canine distemper virus (CDV), a member of the Morbillivirus genus that also includes measles virus, frequently causes neurologic complications, but the routes and timing of CDV invasion of the central nervous system (CNS) are poorly understood. To characterize these events, we cloned and sequenced the genome of a neurovirulent CDV (strain A75/17) and produced an infectious cDNA that expresses the green fluorescent protein. This virus fully retained its virulence in ferrets: the course and signs of disease were equivalent to those of the parental isolate. We observed CNS invasion through two distinct pathways: anterogradely via the olfactory nerve and hematogenously through the choroid plexus and cerebral blood vessels. CNS invasion only occurred after massive infection of the lymphatic system and spread to the epithelial cells throughout the body. While at early time points, mostly immune and endothelial cells were infected, the virus later spread to glial cells and neurons. Together, the results suggest similarities in the timing, target cells, and CNS invasion routes of CDV, members of the Morbillivirus genus, and even other neurovirulent paramyxoviruses like Nipah and mumps viruses.
An adult mink from a farm experiencing 100% mortality in affected animals was submitted for diagnostic examination. Clinical history included signs of respiratory disease, oculonasal discharge, and thickening of footpads. Canine distemper virus and Pneumocystis carinii were identified in lung tissue, suggesting immunosuppresion and secondary infection due to morbillivirus disease.
Extreme climatic conditions may alter historic host-pathogen relationships and synchronize the temporal and spatial convergence of multiple infectious agents, triggering epidemics with far greater mortality than those due to single pathogens. Here we present the first data to clearly illustrate how climate extremes can promote a complex interplay between epidemic and endemic pathogens that are normally tolerated in isolation, but with co-infection, result in catastrophic mortality. A 1994 canine distemper virus (CDV) epidemic in Serengeti lions (Panthera leo) coincided with the death of a third of the population, and a second high-mortality CDV epidemic struck the nearby Ngorongoro Crater lion population in 2001. The extent of adult mortalities was unusual for CDV and prompted an investigation into contributing factors. Serological analyses indicated that at least five “silent” CDV epidemics swept through the same two lion populations between 1976 and 2006 without clinical signs or measurable mortality, indicating that CDV was not necessarily fatal. Clinical and pathology findings suggested that hemoparsitism was a major contributing factor during fatal epidemics. Using quantitative real-time PCR, we measured the magnitude of hemoparasite infections in these populations over 22 years and demonstrated significantly higher levels of Babesia during the 1994 and 2001 epidemics. Babesia levels correlated with mortalities and extent of CDV exposure within prides. The common event preceding the two high mortality CDV outbreaks was extreme drought conditions with wide-spread herbivore die-offs, most notably of Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer). As a consequence of high tick numbers after the resumption of rains and heavy tick infestations of starving buffalo, the lions were infected by unusually high numbers of Babesia, infections that were magnified by the immunosuppressive effects of coincident CDV, leading to unprecedented mortality. Such mass mortality events may become increasingly common if climate extremes disrupt historic stable relationships between co-existing pathogens and their susceptible hosts.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a highly contagious virus that causes multisystemic disease in dogs. We received seven samples from dogs with CD from the United States during 2007. CDV isolates from these samples formed large, multinucleated syncytia in a Vero cell line expressing canine signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM). Based on the hemagglutinin gene sequences, the CDV isolates from three states (California, Missouri, and Oklahoma) formed two CDV genetic groups: group I (major; six of seven isolates) consisted of CDV isolates closely related to the European wildlife lineage of CDV, and group II (minor; one of seven isolates) was genetically related to the Arctic-like lineage of CDV. However, both CDV groups were genetically different from the current vaccine strains that belong to the American-1 lineage of the old (1930 to 1950) CDV isolates.
Double-stranded cDNA synthesized from total polyadenylate-containing mRNA, extracted from monkey kidney cells infected with canine distemper virus (CDV), has been cloned into the PstI site of Escherichia coli plasmid pBR322. Clones containing canine distemper virus DNA were identified by hybridization to a canine distemper virus-specific, 32P-labeled cDNA. Four specific clones containing different classes of sequences have been identified. The cloned plasmids contain inserts of 800 (clone 44-80), 960 (clone 74-16), 1,700 (clone 364), and 950 (clone 40-9) base pairs. The sizes of the mRNA species complementary to these inserts are 1,500, 1,850, 1,850 and 2,500 nucleotides, respectively, as determined by the Northern technique. Three of the cloned DNA fragments were further identified as the reverse transcripts of the mRNA coding for the matrix, phosphoprotein, and nucleocapsid protein of CDV.
In order to effectively identify the vaccine and field strains of Canine distemper virus (CDV), a new differential diagnostic test has been developed based on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). We selected an 829 bp fragment of the nucleoprotein (N) gene of CDV. By RFLP analysis using BamHI, field isolates were distinguishable from the vaccine strains. Two fragments were obtained from the vaccine strains by RT-PCR-RFLP analysis while three were observed in the field strains. An 829 nucleotide region of the CDV N gene was analyzed in 19 CDV field strains isolated from minks, raccoon dogs and foxes in China between 2005 and 2007. The results suggest this method is precise, accurate and efficient. It was also determined that three different genotypes exist in CDV field strains in fur animal herds of the north of China, most of which belong to Asian type. Mutated field strains, JSY06-R1, JSY06-R2 and JDH07-F1 also exist in Northern China, but are most closely related to the standard virulent strain A75/17, designated in Arctic and America-2 genetype in the present study, respectively.
In December 2000, an infectious disease spread through a captive breeding group of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in Tanzania, killing 49 of 52 animals within 2 months. The causative agent was identified as Canine distemper virus (CDV) by means of histologic examination, virus isolation, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis, and nucleotide sequencing. This report emphasizes the importance of adequate protection against infectious diseases for the successful outcome of captive breeding programs of endangered species.
Morbillivirus; canine distemper virus; African wild dogs
Since 2006, canine distemper outbreaks have occurred in rhesus monkeys at a
breeding farm in Guangxi, People’s Republic of China. Approximately
10,000 animals were infected (25%–60% disease incidence); 5%–30%
of infected animals died. The epidemic was controlled by vaccination. Amino acid
sequence analysis of the virus indicated a unique strain.
canine distemper; canine distemper virus; rhesus monkeys; epidemic; measles-like infection; viruses; People’s Republic of China; dispatch
In 2004, six puppies and one adult dog from a total of four premises were subjected to necropsy evaluation. For five of the seven dogs, disease caused by canine distemper virus (CDV) infection was suspected based on clinical signs. In all of the dogs, a diagnosis of CDV infection was established by the presence of compatible gross and histologic lesions, immunohistochemical labeling for CDV antigen, and detection of CDV RNA by reverse transcription-PCR. To further characterize the CDV strains detected in the four cases, complete gene sequences were determined for the hemagglutinin (H) and fusion (F) protein genes, while partial gene sequencing was performed for the phosphoprotein gene. A total of 4,508 bases were sequenced for the CDV strains detected from each of the four cases. Two cases were found to have identical sequences except for 2 bases in the intergenic region of the F and H genes. Phylogenetic analysis strongly suggested an evolutionary relationship between sequences detected in these two cases and those of phocine distemper virus 2 and two other strains of CDV not previously detected in the continental United States. Clear phylogenetic relationships were not established for viruses detected in the two additional cases; however, one strain showed similarity to CDV strains detected in a panda from China. Importantly, the three CDV strains detected were demonstrated to be genetically distinct from known vaccine strains and strains previously reported in the continental United States.
Mortality rates have differed during distemper outbreaks among free-ranging raccoons (Procyon lotor) living around a large Chicago-area zoo, and appeared higher in year 2001 than in 1998 and 2000. We hypothesized that a more lethal variant of the local Canine distemper virus (CDV) lineage had emerged in 2001, and sought the genetic basis that led to increased virulence. However, a more complex model surfaced during preliminary analyses of CDV genomic sequences in infected tissues and of virus isolated in vitro from the raccoons.
Phylogenetic analyses of subgenomic CDV fusion (F) -, phosphoprotein (P) -, and complete hemagglutinin (H) – gene sequences indicated that distinct American CDV lineages caused the distemper epizootics. The 1998 outbreak was caused by viruses that are likely from an old CDV lineage that includes CDV Snyder Hill and Lederle, which are CDV strains from the early 1950's. The 2000 and 2001 viruses appear to stem from the lineage of CDV A75/17, which was isolated in the mid 1970's. Only the 2001 viruses formed large syncytia in brain and/or lung tissue, and during primary isolation in-vitro in Vero cells, demonstrating at least one phenotypic property by which they differed from the other viruses.
Two different American CDV lineages caused the raccoon distemper outbreaks. The 1998 viruses are genetically distant to the 2000/2001 viruses. Since CDV does not cause persistent infections, the cycling of different CDV lineages within the same locale suggests multiple reintroductions of the virus to area raccoons. Our findings establish a precedent for determining whether the perceived differences in mortality rates are actual and attributable in part to inherent differences between CDV strains arising from different CDV lineages.
Canine distemper of domestic dogs is caused by canine distemper virus (CDV), a member of the morbilliviruses. It has been a highly contagious disease of great veterinary importance for centuries, but for the last several decades it has been controlled satisfactorily by modified live vaccines. In the 1990s, however, it was described that CDV strains genetically different from vaccine strains may have caused the disease in vaccinated dogs. The highest antigenic variation is found in the H protein. Therefore, in the present study, hemagglutinin (H) genes obtained from current vaccines and field isolates and amplified directly from clinical specimens were genetically analyzed by restriction fragment length polymorphism assay and sequencing. Phylogenetic analysis of the H-gene amino acid sequences revealed that at least two CDV genotypes are circulating among dogs in Japan; one is a genotype to which almost all Japanese CDV isolates belong and the other has not been previously described. Both are separate and independent from the other lineages or genotypes of vaccine strains, as well as European and U.S. CDV isolates. The results suggest that CDV has also evolved in Japan, and further studies will be needed for an evaluation and possible improvement of the efficacies of current CDV vaccines.