CDV (Canine Distemper Virus) Update – Science News

Posted on Jan 7, 2014 in News | Comments Off on CDV (Canine Distemper Virus) Update – Science News

Last year you helped us to raise money to support WVI implement a veterinary CDV monitoring network in Sumatra.  We just had a great update from  Mahendra Shrestha of the Smithsonian Institute on how Malaysia is now making a commitment to monitor its wildlife against this disease.   Included in this update is a wealth of information and scientific papers and reports on CDV.  If you have any questions or comments do not hesitate to contact us! We have also updated our Scientific Conservation papers with the reports from this update.

CDV Update from Mahendra, Smithsonian Institute

“Thanks to Dr. Siva from the Dept of Wildlife and National Parks in Malaysia for his prompt decision to include the CDV in their zoonotic disease monitoring for 2014.  I think we should all be alerted and take necessary monitoring exercise due to the possibility of the CDV infection appearing anywhere.

Emerging infectious disease is rapidly becoming a pressing problem for our future health and the ecosystem balance. The emergence of new pathogen as a result of their evolution or transmission due to increased consumption of wild meat poses a great challenge to maintain health of human society as well as the ecosystem.  Many veterinary and medical experts from different institutions (including Smithsonian Institution) around the world are working to increase global surveillance efforts on the emerging pathogens and timely address the challenges that are surfacing every now and then.

You will find useful information on the CDV in that attached document that was published by the GTF in its June issue of Newsletter.  It has the info on causes of infection, symptoms, preventive measures, and sample collection for lab test among others.  This is a recommended reading for all the conservation practitioners.

CDV in lions, tigers and leopards 1994

CDV Global Tiger Forum report

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences  /  Pathogen evolution and disease emergence in carnivores Alex J McCarthy*, Marie-Anne Shaw and Simon J Goodman*

Emerging infectious diseases constitute some of the most pressing problems for both human and domestic animal health, and biodiversity conservation. Currently it is not clear whether the removal of past constraints on geographical distribution and transmission possibilities for pathogens alone are sufficient to give rise to novel host-pathogen combinations, or whether pathogen evolution is also generally required for establishment in novel hosts.

Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a morbillivirus that is prevalent in the world dog population and poses an important conservation threat to a diverse range of carnivores. We performed an extensive phylogenetic and molecular evolution analysis on complete sequences of all CDV genes to assess the role of selection and recombination in shaping viral genetic diversity and driving the emergence of CDV in non-dog hosts.

We tested the specific hypothesis that molecular adaptation at known receptor-binding sites of the haemagglutinin gene is associated with independent instances of the spread of CDV to novel non-dog hosts in the wild. This hypothesis was upheld, providing compelling evidence that repeated evolution at known functional sites (in this case residues 530 and 549 of the haemagglutinin molecule) is associated with multiple independent occurrences of disease emergence in a range of novel host species.

Canine distemper virus: an emerging disease in wild endangered Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) Seimon TA, Miquelle DG, Chang TY, Newton AL, Korotkova I, Ivanchuk G, Lyubchenko E, Tupikov A, Slabe E, McAloose D.


Fewer than 500 Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) remain in the wild. Due to low numbers and their solitary and reclusive nature, tiger sightings across their range in the Russian Far East and China are rare; sightings of sick tigers are rarer still. Serious neurologic disease observed in several wild tigers since 2001 suggested disease emergence in this endangered species. To investigate this possibility, histology, immunohistochemistry (IHC), in situ hybridization (ISH), and reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) were performed on tissues from 5 affected tigers that died or were destroyed in 2001, 2004, or 2010. Our results reveal canine distemper virus (CDV) infection as the cause of neurologic disease in two tigers and definitively establish infection in a third. Nonsuppurative encephalitis with demyelination, eosinophilic nuclear viral inclusions, and positive immunolabeling for CDV by IHC and ISH were present in the two tigers with available brain tissue. CDV phosphoprotein (P) and hemagglutinin (H) gene products were obtained from brains of these two tigers by RT-PCR, and a short fragment of CDV P gene sequence was detected in lymph node tissue of a third tiger. Phylogenetically, Amur tiger CDV groups with an Arctic-like strain in Baikal seals (Phoca siberica). Our results, which include mapping the location of positive tigers and recognition of a cluster of cases in 2010, coupled with a lack of reported CDV antibodies in Amur tigers prior to 2000 suggest wide geographic distribution of CDV across the tiger range and recent emergence of CDV as a significant infectious disease threat to endangered Amur tigers in the Russian Far East.

YouTube CDV Information Videos


Big cats fall prey to dog disease

Sumatran tiger study – Wildlife Vets International