• Herpesvirus surveillance and discovery in zoo-housed ruminants

      Partin, Teagen G.; Schrenzel, Mark D.; Braun, Josephine; Witte, Carmel L.; Kubiski, Steven V.; Lee, Justin; Rideout, Bruce (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2021)
      Gammaherpesvirus infections are ubiquitous in captive and free-ranging ruminants and are associated with a variety of clinical diseases ranging from subclinical or mild inflammatory syndromes to fatal diseases such as malignant catarrhal fever. Gammaherpesvirus infections have been fully characterized in only a few ruminant species, and the overall diversity, host range, and biologic effects of most are not known. This study investigated the presence and host distribution of gammaherpesviruses in ruminant species at two facilities, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We tested antemortem (blood, nasal or oropharyngeal swabs) or postmortem (internal organs) samples from 715 healthy or diseased ruminants representing 96 species and subspecies, using a consensus-based herpesvirus PCR for a segment of the DNA polymerase (DPOL) gene. Among the 715 animals tested, 161 (22.5%) were PCR and sequencing positive for herpesvirus, while only 11 (6.83%) of the PCR positive animals showed clinical signs of malignant catarrhal fever. Forty-four DPOL genotypes were identified of which only 10 have been reported in GenBank. The data describe viral diversity within species and individuals, identify host ranges of potential new viruses, and address the proclivity and consequences of interspecies transmission during management practices in zoological parks. The discovery of new viruses with wide host ranges and presence of co-infection within individual animals also suggest that the evolutionary processes influencing Gammaherpesvirus diversity are more complex than previously recognized.