Biology Faculty Articles

Title

A Canine Distemper Virus Epidemic in Serengeti Lions (Panthera leo)

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-1-1996

Publication Title

Nature

ISSN

0028-0836

Volume

379

Issue/No.

6564

First Page

441

Last Page

445

Abstract

Canine distemper virus (CDV) is thought to have caused several fatal epidemics in canids within the Serengeti–Mara ecosystem of East Africa, affecting silver-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) and bat-eared foxes (Otocyon megalotis) in 1978 and African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in 1991. The large, closely monitored Serengeti lion population was not affected in these epidemics. However, an epidemic caused by a morbillivirus closely related to CDV emerged abruptly in the lion population of the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, in early 1994, resulting in fatal neurological disease characterized by grand mal seizures and myoclonus; the lions that died had encephalitis and pneumonia. Here we report the identification of CDV from these lions, and the close phylogenetic relationship between CDV isolates from lions and domestic dogs. By August 1994, 85% of the Serengeti lion population had anti-CDV antibodies, and the epidemic spread north to lions in the Maasai Mara National reserve, Kenya, and uncounted hyaenas, bat-eared foxes, and leopards were also affected.

Comments

©1996 Nature Publishing Group

ORCID ID

0000-0001-7353-8301

ResearcherID

N-1726-2015

This document is currently not available here.

Find in your library

Share

COinS