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Research article2015Peer reviewedOpen access

Aleutian Mink Disease Virus in Free-Ranging Mink from Sweden

Persson, Sara; Jensen, Trine H.; Blomström, Anne-Lie; Tjernström Appelberg, Mia; Magnusson, Ulf


Aleutian mink disease (AMD) is a chronic viral disease in farmed mink and the virus (AMDV) has been found in many free-ranging mink (Neovison vison) populations in Europe and North America. In this study, AMDV DNA and AMDV antibodies were analysed in 144 free-ranging mink hunted in Sweden. Associations between being AMDV infected (defined as positive for both viral DNA and antibodies) and the weight of the spleen, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands and body condition were calculated and the sequences of ten AMDV isolates were analysed in order to characterize the genetic relationships. In total, 46.1% of the mink were positive for AMDV antibodies and 57.6% were positive for AMDV DNA. Twenty-two percent of the mink tested on both tests (n = 133) had dissimilar results. The risk of having AMDV antibodies or being positive for AMDV DNA clearly increased with age and the majority of the mink that were two years or older were infected. Few macroscopic changes were found upon necropsy. However, the relative weight of the spleen was sexually dimorphic and was found to be slightly, but significantly (p = 0.006), heavier in AMDV infected male mink than uninfected. No association between AMDV infection and body condition, weight of the kidneys, liver or adrenal glands were found. Several different strains of AMDV were found across the country. Two of the AMDV sequences from the very north of Sweden did not group with any of the previously described groups of strains. In summary, AMDV seems to be prevalent in wild mink in Sweden and may subtly influence the weight of the spleen.

Published in

2015, Volume: 10, number: 3, article number: e0122194Publisher: Public Library of Science