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J Wildl Dis. 1994 Oct;30(4):481-5.

African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) endangered by a canine distemper epizootic among domestic dogs near the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.


A longitudinal study of canine distemper (CD) among domestic dogs on Malsai communal land to the north of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya was conducted from 1989 to 1991. Prevalence of antibodies to CD was very low among domestic dogs in 1989 and 1990 (4%, n = 49; and 1%, n = 119, respectively) and no African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus; n = 16) collected simultaneously from the same area had detectable antibodies. Among 51 domestic dogs sampled in 1991, however, prevalence of CD antibodies rose significantly (P < 0.01) to 76%. Disease-related mortality rates among domestic dogs were estimated from 1990 to 1992; they rose significantly (P < 0.01) from 21% in 1990 to 50% in 1991 and then decreased significantly (P < 0.01) to 38% in 1992. The 1992 mortality rate remained significantly (P < 0.01) higher than that of 1990. Signs observed in clinically ill domestic dogs were consistent with CD and included listlessness, decreased appetite, bilateral serous to mucopurulent oculonasal discharge, and diarrhea. No carcasses could be retrieved for virus isolation and postmortem examination. Concurrent with this CD epizootic in domestic dogs, the known African wild dog packs in this region disappeared.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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