Serological and Molecular Survey of Canine Distemper Virus in Red Foxes ( Vulpes Vulpes): Exploring Cut-Off Values and the Use of Protein a in ELISA Tests

34 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2023

See all articles by Clara Muñoz-Hernandez

Clara Muñoz-Hernandez

University of Murcia

Adrian Wipf

University of Murcia

Nieves Ortega

Universidad de Murcia

Gonzalo Gonzalez Barberá

Campus Universitario Riu Sec

Jesus Salinas

University of Murcia

Moisés Gonzálvez

University of Murcia

Carlos Martinez-Carrasco

University of Murcia

Mónica González Candela

University of Murcia

Abstract

The wide distribution and ecological plasticity of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) make it a potential reservoir for many infectious diseases shared with domestic and wild carnivores. One of such diseases is canine distemper, which is caused by an RNA virus and its main domestic reservoir is the dog. However, other carnivores can also participate in its maintenance, as shown by the recent upsurge of reported cases in wildlife in many parts of the world, and by the fact that red foxes may act as true reservoirs for canine distemper virus (CDV). The lack of validated serological tests for wildlife or other non-target species may be a handicap for monitoring this virus. In this study, serological assays were compared in 147 red fox sera using a commercial ELISA validated for its use in dogs and a non-specific modified ELISA with Protein A peroxidase conjugate to detect bound antibodies. In addition, the presence of CDV RNA in brain, spleen, lung, and liver samples from 144 foxes was investigated by a RT-qPCR. Through the comparison of the results of both ELISAs and the use of a finite mixture model of the optical density values obtained by both techniques, we adjusted the cut-off point of the commercial ELISA to obtain the seroprevalence in foxes. The overall seroprevalence detected was 53.7% (79/147) and 57.1% (84/147) by the commercial and modified ELISA, respectively, with a moderate agreement according to Cohen’s Kappa statistic (κ=0.491, z=5.97, p<0.0001). CDV RNA was detected in 30 out of 144 foxes, which resulted in 20.8% of CDV carrier foxes. At individual level, the results obtained by relating serological status and presence of RNA in different organs could be explained in terms of the pathogenesis of the infection. Our results highlight the convenience of adjusting the cut-off point when using an ELISA assay developed in domestic dogs for its use in foxes. Moreover, Protein A is confirmed to be a good alternative to be used in red foxes, presenting a good reactivity towards its IgG.

Keywords: protein A, ELISA, Vulpes vulpes, Morbillivirus, wildlife, CDV carrier

Suggested Citation

Muñoz-Hernandez, Clara and Wipf, Adrian and Ortega, Nieves and Barberá, Gonzalo Gonzalez and Salinas, Jesus and Gonzálvez, Moisés and Martinez-Carrasco, Carlos and Candela, Mónica González, Serological and Molecular Survey of Canine Distemper Virus in Red Foxes ( Vulpes Vulpes): Exploring Cut-Off Values and the Use of Protein a in ELISA Tests. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4547172 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4547172

Clara Muñoz-Hernandez

University of Murcia ( email )

Avda Teniente Flomesta, 5
Murcia, 30100
Spain

Adrian Wipf

University of Murcia ( email )

Avda Teniente Flomesta, 5
Murcia, 30100
Spain

Nieves Ortega (Contact Author)

Universidad de Murcia ( email )

Gonzalo Gonzalez Barberá

Campus Universitario Riu Sec ( email )

Jesus Salinas

University of Murcia ( email )

Moisés Gonzálvez

University of Murcia ( email )

Avda Teniente Flomesta, 5
Murcia, 30100
Spain

Carlos Martinez-Carrasco

University of Murcia ( email )

Avda Teniente Flomesta, 5
Murcia, 30100
Spain

Mónica González Candela

University of Murcia ( email )

Avda Teniente Flomesta, 5
Murcia, 30100
Spain

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