Canine morbillivirus from Mustelids

Canine morbillivirus (canine distemper virus, CDV) is a member of the Paramyxoviridae family and it is a serious viral disease that affects many mammalian species, including members of the Mustelidae family. Road-killed mustelids belonging to six species were tested with RT-PCR and three species were positive for viral RNA, 2 out of 64 Steppe polecats (Mustela eversmanii), 1 out of 36 European polecats (Mustela putorius) and 2 out of 36 stone martens (Martes foina); all 18 pine martens (Martes martes), 10 least weasels (Mustela nivalis) and 6 stoats (Mustela erminea) tested negative. The complete CDV genome was sequenced in five samples using pan-genotype CDV-specific, amplicon-based Nanopore sequencing. Our paper that was published in BMC Veterinary Research provides the first CDV genome sequences from Steppe polecats and additional complete genomes from European polecats and stone martens. The infected specimens of various species originated from distinct parts of the country over a long time, indicating a wide circulation of CDV among mustelids throughout Hungary. Considering the high virulence of CDV and the presence of the virus in these animals, we highlight the importance of conservation efforts for wild mustelids.