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Investigation of Carnivore protoparvovirus 1 and Amdoparvovirus infections in red fox populations of the Italian Dolomites

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Members of the family Parvoviridae are well recognized infectious agents of companion, livestock and wild animals as well, whose relevance on production, health, welfare and conservation is often high. Nevertheless, the knowledge of their epidemiology in wild populations is scarce or fragmentary. In this study, the presence and features of two parvoviruses, Carnivore protoparvovirus 1 and Amdoparvovirus, were evaluated in the red fox population resident in the Dolomites area, Northern Italy, and compared with the scenario of other countries and Italian regions. Six out of 117 spleen samples (5.13%: 95CI: 1.91–10.83%) tested positive to Carnivore protoparvovirus 1 and were molecularly characterized as Canine parvovirus (CPV). Infection frequency was comparable with that observed in wild carnivore populations present in Southern Italian regions, although in that case, Feline parvovirus (FPV) was predominant. No evidence of infection-related clinical signs was reported and viral loads were invariably low, suggesting the subclinical nature of the infection, the persistent carrier status or the detection of traces of viral DNA. No samples tested positive to Amdoparvovirus genus-specific PCR. The present study provides the first evidence of CPV circulation in the Northern Italy fox population. Unfortunately, the inevitable convenience nature of the sampling prevents definitive conclusions. Therefore, a more coordinated and standardized approach should be applied, at least in neighbouring geographic areas, to study these viral infections and their relevance in wildlife.

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The authors declare that no funds, grants, or other supports were received during the preparation of this manuscript.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by Federica Obber, Carlo Citterio, Laura Grassi and Giovanni Franzo. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Giovanni Franzo and Laura Grassi and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. Supervision was performed by Maria Luisa Menandro, Michele Drigo and Giovanni Franzo. Samples were processed and analyzed by Laura Grassi, Claudia Maria Tucciarone, Giulia Faustini, Matteo Legnardi, Daniela Pasotto and Giovanni Franzo. Funding was obtained by Mattia Cecchinato, Maria Luisa Menandro and Giovanni Franzo. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Giovanni Franzo.

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The authors have no relevant financial or non-financial interests to disclose.

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As all involved animals were shot during the regular hunting season or found dead as a result of passive surveillance activities, according to the Italian legislation, no ethical approval was required.

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Grassi, L., Menandro, M.L., Obber, F. et al. Investigation of Carnivore protoparvovirus 1 and Amdoparvovirus infections in red fox populations of the Italian Dolomites. Vet Res Commun 46, 1291–1295 (2022).

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