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Red deer (Cervus elaphus) did not play the role of maintenance host for bluetongue virus in France: The burden of proof by long-term wildlife monitoring and Culicoides snapshots

Rossi S., Balenghien T., Viarouge C., Faure E., Zanella G., Sailleau C., Mathieu B., Delecolle J.C., Ninio C., Garros C., Gardes L., Tholoniat C., Ariston A., Gauthier D., Mondoloni S., Barboiron A., Pellerin M., Gibert P., Novella C., Barbier S., Guillaumat E., Zientara S., Vitour D., Breard E.. 2019. Viruses, 11 (5) : 26 p..

Bluetongue virus (BTV) is a Culicoides-borne pathogen infecting both domestic and wild ruminants. In Europe, the Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) (RD) is considered a potential BTV reservoir, but persistent sylvatic cycle has not yet been demonstrated. In this paper, we explored the dynamics of BTV1 and BTV8 serotypes in the RD in France, and the potential role of that species in the re-emergence of BTV8 in livestock by 2015 (i.e., 5 years after the former last domestic cases). We performed 8 years of longitudinal monitoring (2008¿2015) among 15 RD populations and 3065 individuals. We compared Culicoides communities and feeding habits within domestic and wild animal environments (51,380 samples). Culicoides diversity (>30 species) varied between them, but bridge-species able to feed on both wild and domestic hosts were abundant in both situations. Despite the presence of competent vectors in natural environments, BTV1 and BTV8 strains never spread in RD along the green corridors out of the domestic outbreak range. Decreasing antibody trends with no PCR results two years after the last domestic outbreak suggests that seropositive young RD were not recently infected but carried maternal antibodies. We conclude that RD did not play a role in spreading or maintaining BTV in France

Mots-clés : culicoides; vecteur de maladie; fièvre catarrhale du mouton; cervus elaphus; arboviruses [en]; france

Thématique : Maladies des animaux; Ecologie animale

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