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J Wildl Dis. 2006 Jul;42(3):646-50.

Plague as a mortality factor in Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) reintroduced to Colorado.

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Colorado Division of Wildlife, Wildlife Research Section, 317 W. Prospect Rd, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526, USA.


As part of a species recovery program, 129 Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) originating from British Columbia, the Yukon, Manitoba, and Quebec, Canada, and Alaska, USA, were reintroduced to southwestern Colorado, USA, from 1999 to 2003. Of 52 lynx mortalities documented by October 2003, six lynx, including a female and her 5-mo-old kitten, had evidence of Yersinia pestis infection as determined by fluorescent antibody test and/or culture. Postmortem findings in these lynx were characterized by pneumonia, ranging from acute suppurative pneumonia, to multifocal necrotizing pneumonia, to fibrinous bronchopneumonia. Histopathologic examination of lung revealed multiple areas of inflammation and consolidation, areas of edema and hemorrhage, and bacteria surrounded by extensive inflammation. Spleens had severe lymphoid depletion and hypocellular red pulp. Lymphadenomegaly was observed in only one plague-affected lynx. We hypothesize that these Canada lynx were exposed to Y. pestis by infected prey, and these are the first reports of plague in this species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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