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Aleutian disease

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wildlife and zoo assay data sheet

Aleutian disease

Test code:
S0118 - Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of Aleutian disease by real time PCR

 

Aleutian disease virus (ADV) is a parvovirus that was first discovered in mink farms in the 1950s. It was so named because mink that were homozygous for the Aleutian (blue) gene were most severely affected by the illness. In addition to mink, ADV has been found to infect other mustelids such as skunks and ferrets.

There are several uncharacterized strains of ADV, but the most common strains are ADV-Utah (the original strain discovered which is the most virulent in mink), ADV-F (a ferret-specific strain), and ADV-G (a non-virulent strain used for laboratory studies). The ADV-F strain is thought to be a mutated form of the original mink ADV and is only pathogenic in ferrets.

Animals infected with ADV can manifest as a chronic wasting disease. In some severe cases, multiple organ systems can be involved. Any combination of the following symptoms may be seen in infected animals: chronic weight loss, lethargy, cough, hind limb paralysis or weakness, head tremors, enlarged kidney, liver and/or spleen, and blood abnormalities (dyscrasias).

ADV is highly contagious and many infected animals are carriers without displaying outward symptoms of the disease. The virus can easily be transmitted via casual contact with the saliva, blood, feces, or urine of infected animals. It can also be spread via contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. If handlers get ADV on their hands or clothes they can transmit it between animals. How frequently an infected animal sheds the virus is currently not known.

Screening of ADV-infected animals by serological methods is not reliable because exposure to this virus is widespread (Fournier-Chambrillon et al., 2004). Serology will not identify carriers of the virus. Detection of ADV nucleic acid by PCR can reliably identify carriers and confirm diagnosis.

Utilities:

  • Help confirm the disease causing agent
  • Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical diagnosis of Aleutian disease infection
  • Help ensure that mink farms and other mustelid colonies are free of Aleutian disease
  • Early prevention of spread of this virus among a colony
  • Environmental monitoring for this virus
  • Minimize human exposure to this virus
  • Safety monitoring of biological products that derive from mustelids

References:
Fournier-Chambrillon, C., Aasted, B., Perrot, A., Pontier, D., Sauvage, F., Artois, M., Cassiède, J.M., Chauby, X., Dal Molin, A., Simon, C. and Fournier, P. (2004) Antibodies to Aleutian mink disease parvovirus in free-ranging European mink (Mustela lutreola) and other small carnivores from southwestern France. J. Wildl. Dis. 40:394-402.

Specimen requirement: 0.2 ml feces, or rectal swab, or 0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA (purple top) or ACD (yellow top) tube, or 0.2 ml fresh, frozen or fixed tissue.

For specimen types other than those listed here, please call to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.

For all specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain frozen in transit. See shipping instructions for more information.

Turnaround time: 2 business days

Methodology: Qualitative real time polymerase chain reaction

Normal range: Nondetected

Aleutian disease PCR test

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