Orthopoxvirus DNA in Eurasian Lynx, Sweden
AuthorTryland, Morten; Okeke, Malachy Ifeanyi; Hård af Segerstad, Carl; Mörner, Torsten; Traavik, Ingemar Terje; Ryser-Degiorgis, Marie-Pierre
Cowpox virus, which has been used to protect humans against smallpox but may cause severe disease in immunocompromised persons, has reemerged in humans, domestic cats, and other animal species in Europe. Orthopoxvirus (OPV) DNA was detected in tissues (lung, kidney, spleen) in 24 (9%) of 263 free-ranging Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) from Sweden. Thymidine kinase gene amplicon sequences (339 bp) from 21 lynx were all identical to those from cowpox virus isolated from a person in Norway and phylogenetically closer to monkeypox virus than to vaccinia virus and isolates from 2 persons with cowpox virus in Sweden. Prevalence was higher among animals from regions with dense, rather than rural, human populations. Lynx are probably exposed to OPV through predation on small mammal reservoir species. We conclude that OPV is widely distributed in Sweden and may represent a threat to humans. Further studies are needed to verify whether this lynx OPV is cowpox virus.
PublisherCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
CitationEmerging Infectious Diseases 17(2011) nr. 4 s. 626-632
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