Serological and molecular investigation of viral agents in free-living jaguars of the Pantanal wetlands, state of Mato Grosso, Brazil
Keywords:Panthera onca, Diagnostic, Protected areas, Wild felids, Brazil
This study investigates the exposure of free-living jaguars from two federal protected areas in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso, Brazil, to a variety viral agents. These viral agents, particularly causing zoonotic diseases, were analyzed using serological and molecular methods. None of the jaguars was positive by RT-PCR for the molecular detection of avian influenza and West Nile Fever (WNF). Only one animal was serologically positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) by virus neutralization test in VERO cell cultures, representing the first reported case of jaguar exposure to EEE virus. However, all the animals were negative for Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) virus and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (VEE) virus. Eleven jaguars were tested by two tests for the detection of antibodies against rabies virus (Simplified Fluorescent Inhibition Microtest – SFIMT and Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Test – RFFIT), resulting in five positive animals, two animals in each test and one in both serological tests. Furthermore, three out of 14 samples subjected to the neutralization test were positive for antibodies against canine distemper virus (CDV), and 15 out of 17 samples subjected to the hemagglutination-inhibition test (HI) were positive for antibodies against canine parvovirus (CPV). In view of the findings of this study, it is unlikely that the viruses examined here represent a threat to the jaguar populations in this region.
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