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Highly Contagious Viral Infection is Killing Gir Lions, Says ICMR Study

While there’s no information about the mortality rate due to CDV in lions, the infection can kill 50 per cent of adult dogs and 80 per cent of infected puppies.​

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Updated:October 10, 2018, 11:42 AM IST
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Highly Contagious Viral Infection is Killing Gir Lions, Says ICMR Study
While there’s no information about the mortality rate due to CDV in lions, the infection can kill 50 per cent of adult dogs and 80 per cent of infected puppies.​
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New Delhi: An active transmission of the canine distemper virus (CDV) has been found in at least 21 of the dead lions in Gujarat’s Gir forest, scientists at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.

This highly contagious viral infection has killed as many as 23 lions in Gir in less than a month. In 1994, the same disease had wiped out over 30 per cent of the total lion population in East Africa.

The research body had on October 4 reported that five of these lions were suffering from the CDV infection. That was from the tested samples on dead lions.

A total of 80 samples of nasal, ocular and rectal swabs were collected from 27 lions from Gir forest, who were unwell and under treatment or observation at Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh, ICMR Director Dr Balram Bhargava told The Indian Express.

Referring the fresh samples to ICMR-NIV, Dr Bhargava suggested the animals be immediately vaccinated for CDV. “At present, most of the available vaccines are made up of CDV American genotypes. These vaccines have been used in a number of countries and have been found to be effective,” he added.

ICMR officials have advised that healthy lions from Gir should be shifted to another location since CDV is known to be transmitted through air as well as infected body secretions.

While there’s no information about the mortality rate due to CDV in lions, the infection can kill 50 per cent of adult dogs and 80 per cent of infected puppies.​
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