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Serological survey of feline viral pathogens in free-living European wildcats (Felis s. silvestris) from Luxembourg

  • Mike Heddergott
  • Sandra Steeb
  • Natalia Osten-Sacken
  • Peter Steinbach
  • Simone Schneider
  • Jacques P. Pir
  • Franz Müller
  • Lise-Marie Pigneur
  • Alain C. Frantz
Brief Report

Abstract

European populations of free-living wildcats have been shown to be exposed to cat viruses. Luxembourg has a high degree of habitat fragmentation, and hybridisation rates between domestic cats and wildcats are high. We therefore assessed the seroprevalence of six viruses in 34 serum samples collected between 2001 and 2016 from wildcats in Luxembourg. The values for feline leukemia virus (FeLV; 52.9%) and feline coronavirus (FCoV; 47.1%) were amongst the highest reported for wildcats. We found evidence for the cumulative likelihood of exposure to FCoV affecting its seroprevalence. Routine monitoring of viral agents in this strictly protected species should be considered.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank G. Biver, F. Daems, L. Dondelinger, C. Felten, M. Gaston, D. Grosbusch, J. M. Guinet, S. Hermes, F. Hoss, M. Jans, J. Junck, M. Kugener, X. Mestdagh, M. Moes, G. M. Ronkaz, R. Schauls, G. Schmidt, F. Schoos, M. Schulz, F. Sowa, R. Stranen and F. Wolff for providing us with wildcat carcasses.

Funding

NOS was supported by a Grant from the Luxembourg National Research Fund (AFR 7484378).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

All animals had been road-killed and were collected with the authorisation of the Luxembourg Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures (Ref.: 70646 GW/sc).

Supplementary material

705_2018_3972_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 14 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Heddergott
    • 1
  • Sandra Steeb
    • 2
  • Natalia Osten-Sacken
    • 1
    • 3
  • Peter Steinbach
    • 4
  • Simone Schneider
    • 1
    • 5
  • Jacques P. Pir
    • 1
  • Franz Müller
    • 2
    • 6
  • Lise-Marie Pigneur
    • 7
  • Alain C. Frantz
    • 1
  1. 1.Musée National d’Histoire NaturelleLuxembourgLuxembourg
  2. 2.Arbeitskreis Wildbiologie an der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen e.V.GiessenGermany
  3. 3.Fondation Fauna-FloraLuxembourgLuxembourg
  4. 4.Faculty of ChemistryUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  5. 5.Biological Station SICONAOlmLuxembourg
  6. 6.GersfeldGermany
  7. 7.Laboratoire de génétique de la conservation (GeCoLAB)Université de LiègeLiègeBelgium

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