Canine distemper

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Canine distemper is a viral disease that affects animals in the families Canidae, Mustelidae, Mephitidae, Hyaenidae, Ailuridae, Procyonidae, Pinnipedia, some Viverridae and Felidae (though not domestic cats; feline distemper or panleukopenia is a different virus exclusive to cats). It is most commonly associated with domestic animals such as dogs and ferrets, although it can infect wild animals as well. It is a single-stranded RNA virus of the family paramyxovirus, and thus a close relative of measles and rinderpest.[1][2][3] Despite extensive vaccination in many regions, it remains a major disease of dogs.[4]

Contents

Etymology

The origin of the word distemper is from the Middle English distemperen, meaning to upset the balance of the humors, which is from the Old French destemprer, meaning to disturb, which is from the Vulgar Latin distemperare: Latin dis- and Latin temperare, meaning to not mix properly.

History

Although very similar to the measles virus, CDV seems to have appeared more recently, with the first case described in 1905 by French veterinarian Henri Carré.[5] It was first thought to be related to the plague and typhus, and was attributed to several species of bacteria.[6] It now affects all populations of domestic dog and some populations of wildlife. A vaccine was developed in 1950, yet due to limited use, the virus remains prevalent in many populations.[5] The domestic dog has largely been responsible for introducing canine distemper to previously unexposed wildlife, and now causes a serious conservation threat to many species of carnivores and some species of marsupials. The virus contributed to the near-extinction of the black-footed ferret. It also may have played a considerable role in the extinction of the Thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) and recurrently causes mortality among African wild dogs.[3] In 1991, the lion population in Serengeti, Tanzania experienced a 20% decline as a result of the disease.[7] The disease has also mutated to form phocid distemper virus, which affects seals.[8]

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