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Epidemics of squirrelpox virus disease in red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris): temporal and serological findings

Carroll, B; Russell, P; Gurnell, J; Nettleton, P; Sainsbury, AW; (2008) Epidemics of squirrelpox virus disease in red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris): temporal and serological findings. Epidemiology & Infection , 137 (2) pp. 257-265. 10.1017/S0950268808000836. Green open access

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Abstract

Squirrelpox virus (SQPV) causes a fatal disease in free-living red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) which has contributed to their decline in the United Kingdom. Given the difficulty of carrying out and funding experimental investigations on free-living wild mammals, data collected from closely monitored natural outbreaks of disease is crucial to our understanding of disease epidemiology. A conservation programme was initiated in the 1990s to bolster the population of red squirrels in the coniferous woodland of Thetford Chase, East Anglia. In 1996, 24 red squirrels were reintroduced to Thetford from Northumberland and Cumbria, while in 1999 a captive breeding and release programme commenced, but in both years the success of the projects was hampered by an outbreak of SQPV disease in which seven and four red squirrels died respectively. Valuable information on the host-pathogen dynamics of SQPV disease was gathered by telemetric and mark-recapture monitoring of the red squirrels. SQPV disease characteristics were comparable to other virulent poxviral infections: the incubation period was <15 days; the course of the disease an average of 10 days and younger animals were significantly more susceptible to disease. SQPV disease places the conservation of the red squirrel in jeopardy in the United Kingdom unless practical disease control methods can be identified.

Type: Article
Title: Epidemics of squirrelpox virus disease in red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris): temporal and serological findings
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0950268808000836
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0950268808000836 P
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Age Factors, Animals, Chordopoxvirinae, Disease Outbreaks, Female, Infectious Disease Incubation Period, Male, Poxviridae Infections, Rodent Diseases, Sciuridae, Time Factors, United Kingdom
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10094217
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