Dynamics of a morbillivirus at the domestic -wildlife interface: Canine distemper virus in domestic dogs and lions

Mafalda Viana, Sarah Cleaveland, Jason Matthiopoulos, Jo Halliday, Craig Packer, Meggan E. Craft, Katie Hampson, Anna Czupryn, Andrew P. Dobson, Edward J. Dubovi, Eblate Ernest, Robert Fyumagwa, Richard Hoare, J. Grant C Hopcraft, Daniel L. Horton, Magai T. Kaare, Theo Kanellos, Christine Mentzel Felix Lankester, Titus Mlengeya, Imam MzimbiriEmi Takahashi, Brian Willett, Daniel T. Haydon, Tiziana Lembo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Morbilliviruses cause many diseases of medical and veterinary importance, and although some (e.g., measles and rinderpest) have been controlled successfully, others, such as canine distemper virus (CDV), are a growing concern. A propensity for host-switching has resulted in CDV emergence in new species, including endangered wildlife, posing challenges for controlling disease in multispecies communities. CDV is typically associated with domestic dogs, but little is known about its maintenance and transmission in speciesrich areas or about the potential role of domestic dog vaccination as a means of reducing disease threats to wildlife. We address these questions by analyzing a long-term serological dataset of CDV in lions and domestic dogs from Tanzania's Serengeti ecosystem. Using a Bayesian state-space model, we show that dynamics of CDV have changed considerably over the past three decades. Initially, peaks of CDV infection in dogs preceded those in lions, suggesting that spill-over fromdogswas the main driver of infection in wildlife. However, despite dog-to-lion transmission dominating cross-species transmission models, infection peaks in lions became more frequent and asynchronous from those in dogs, suggesting that other wildlife species may play a role in a potentially complex maintenance community.Widespread mass vaccination of domestic dogs reduced the probability of infection in dogs and the size of outbreaks but did not prevent transmission to or peaks of infection in lions. This study demonstrates the complexity of CDV dynamics in natural ecosystems and the value of long-term, large-scale datasets for investigating transmission patterns and evaluating disease control strategies. cross-species transmission multihost pathogens reservoirs state-space models serology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1464-1469
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 3 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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