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Oncotarget. 2017 Dec 8;8(69):113910-113919. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.23042. eCollection 2017 Dec 26.

Canine distemper viral infection threatens the giant panda population in China.

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College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, People's Republic of China.
College of Veterinary Medicine, Northwest A&F University, Shaanxi 712100, People's Republic of China.
Foping National Nature Reserve, Shaanxi 723400, People's Republic of China.
Beijing Zoo, Beijing 100044, People's Republic of China.
College of Animal Science, Zhejiang University, Zhejiang 310058, People's Republic of China.


We evaluated exposure to canine distemper virus (CDV) in eight wild giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and 125 unvaccinated domestic dogs living in and around Foping National Nature Reserve (FNNR), China. Seventy-two percent of unvaccinated domestic dogs (mixed breed) had neutralizing antibodies for CDV due to exposure to the disease. The eight wild giant pandas were naïve to CDV and carried no positive antibody titer. RT-PCR assays for hemagglutinin (H) gene confirmed the presence of CDV in 31 clinically ill dogs from several areas near FNNR. Genomic sequence analysis showed that the 21 canine CDV were highly homologous to each other and belonged to the Asian-1 genotype. They showed high homology with the GP01 strain sequenced from a fatally infected giant panda, suggesting cross-species infection. Observational and GPS tracking data revealed home range overlap in pandas and dogs around FNNR. This study shows that CDV is endemic in domestic dogs near FNNR and that cross-species CDV infection threatens the wild giant panda population.


canine (mixed breed); canine distemper virus; foping national nature reserve; giant panda (ailuropoda melanoleuca)

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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