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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Detection of antibodies to peste-des-petits-ruminants virus in the semi-domesticated yak

Abubakar, Muhammad; Sattorov, Nosirjon; Manzoor, Shumaila; Khan, Ehtisham ul Haq; Hussain, Manzoor; Bin Zahur, Aamir; Afzal, Muhammad; Wensman, Jonas Johansson


Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a highly contagious and acute viral disease of small ruminants. Occasionally, PPR can affect wildlife with devastating results, such as the recent outbreaks in Mongolian saiga. The yak (Bos grunniens and Bos mutus) is a large ruminant found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. In Pakistan, yaks are confined to the high plateau of the Northern Areas, from Gilgit to the valley of Ladakh. In Tajikistan, yaks are present in districts in the north, east and southeast of the country. Commonly, yak intermingle with domestic animals during winter when mountainous summer pastures are covered with snow, and with wildlife during summer pastures. PPR is considered endemic in sheep and goats in Pakistan and Tajikistan. In this study, we investigated the potential presence of antibodies to peste-des-petits-ruminants virus (PPRV) in yak populations using ELISA. A total of 250 (Pakistan) and 85 (Tajikistan) serum samples of healthy yaks were collected. None of the Tajik yaks were seropositive (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.0-4.2%), while 23 of 250 (9.2%; 95% CI 5.9-13.5%) yaks sampled in Pakistan were found positive. Whether PPRV is continuously circulating among yaks or seroconversion reflects spill-over from outbreaks of PPR in domestic animals remains unknown. Due to the herding practices, yak might transmit PPR from domestic to wild ruminants. Differences in contacts between yaks and domestic animals in Pakistan and Tajikistan, or the low sample size, could explain that no Tajik yaks were seropositive.


Morbillivirus; Epidemiology; Serology; Sheep; Goats; Wildlife

Published in

European Journal of Wildlife Research
2019, Volume: 65, number: 6, article number: 88
Publisher: SPRINGER

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