As part of research and wildlife disease surveillance efforts, we performed necropsy examinations of 125 free-ranging (n = 114) and captive (n = 11) prairie dogs in Colorado from 2009 to 2017. From these cases, we identified three cases of thymic lymphoma in free-ranging Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni), and we identified a novel retroviral sequence associated with these tumors. The viral sequence is 7700 nucleotides in length and exhibits a genetic organization that is consistent with the characteristics of a type D betaretrovirus. The proposed name of this virus is Gunnison’s prairie dog retrovirus (GPDRV). We screened all 125 prairie dogs for the presence of GPDRV using PCR with envelope-specific primers and DNA extracted from spleen samples. Samples were from Gunnison’s prairie dogs (n = 59), black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) (n = 40), and white-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys leucurus) (n = 26). We identified GPDRV in a total of 7/125 (5.6%) samples including all three of the prairie dogs with thymic lymphoma, as well as spleen from an additional four Gunnison’s prairie dogs with no tumors recognized at necropsy. None of the GPDRV-negative Gunnison’s prairie dogs had thymic lymphomas. We also identified a related, apparently endogenous retroviral sequence in all prairie dog samples. These results suggest that GPDRV infection may lead to development of thymic lymphoma in Gunnison’s prairie dogs.
- PMID: 32498297
- DOI: 10.3390/v12060606
Plague is a highly contagious disease that has killed millions of people over the past 1,400 years. Outbreaks still sporadically occur in as many as 36 countries worldwide. Perhaps one of the greatest remaining mysteries surrounding plague is how and where it survives between outbreaks.
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Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2), a notifiable foreign animal disease, has been confirmed for
the first time in wild rabbits in the United States.
Read more: Rabbit
If you live in New Mexico….and in the event you find a sick or dead rabbit…
From Wildlife Rescue: “The disease has been found in Southern and Eastern NM and it is only a matter or time when it will be found here in our area. It is highly contagious, but only to other rabbits, domestic rabbits and species within the rabbit family. Baby rabbits don’t seem to be affected at least at this time.”
If we (Wildlife Rescue) receive any phone calls regarding someone reporting dead or sick wild rabbits, we are asking them for info on where these rabbits are located and reporting this to USGS/NMG&F or to our mammal coordinator. We are telling people not to handle or rescue these rabbits themselves or to wear gloves if handling them.