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Canine Distemper Virus in Tigers (Panthera tigris) and Leopards (P. pardus) in Nepal

Bodgener, Jessica, Sadaula, Amir, Thapa, Parbat Jung, Shrestha, Bhijay Kumar, Gairhe, Kamal Prasad, Subedi, Suraj, Rijal, Kiran Raj, Pandey, Purushotam, Joshi, Janardan Dev, Kandel, Prakriti, and others. (2023) Canine Distemper Virus in Tigers (Panthera tigris) and Leopards (P. pardus) in Nepal. Pathogens, 12 (2). Article Number 203. ISSN 2076-0817. (doi:10.3390/pathogens12020203) (KAR id:99886)


From wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in the Serengeti to tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) in the Russian Far East, canine distemper virus (CDV) has been repeatedly identified as a threat to wild carnivores. Between 2020 and 2022, six Indian leopards (P. pardus fusca) presented to Nepali authorities with fatal neurological disease, consistent with CDV. Here, we report the findings of a serosurvey of wild felids from Nepal. A total of 48 serum samples were tested, comprising 28 Bengal tigers (P. t. tigris) and 20 Indian leopards. Neutralizing antibodies were identified in three tigers and six leopards, equating to seroprevalences of 11% (CI: 2.8–29.3%, n = 28) and 30% (CI: 12.8–54.3%, n = 20), respectively. More than one-third of seropositive animals were symptomatic, and three died within a week of being sampled. The predation of domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) has been posited as a potential route of infection. A comparison of existing diet studies revealed that while leopards in Nepal frequently predate on dogs, tigers do not, potentially supporting this hypothesis. However, further work, including molecular analyses, would be needed to confirm this.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3390/pathogens12020203
Uncontrolled keywords: canine distemper virus, CDV, tiger, leopard, Panthera tigris, Panthera pardus, serum neutralization test, serology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: Wildlife Vets International (
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2023 15:21 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Bodgener, Jessica.

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