Transmission of pathogens from domestic animals to wildlife populations (spillover) has precipitated local wildlife extinctions in multiple geographic locations. Identifying such events before they cause population declines requires differentiating spillover from endemic disease, a challenge complicated by a lack of baseline data from wildlife populations that are isolated from domestic animals. We tested sera collected from 12 ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) native to Barro Colorado Island, Panama, which is free of domestic animals, for antibodies to feline herpes virus, feline calicivirus, feline corona virus, feline panleukopenia virus, canine distemper virus, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), typically a species-specific infection. Samples also were tested for feline leukemia virus antigens. Positive tests results were only observed for FIV; 50% of the ocelots were positive. We hypothesize that isolation of this population has prevented introduction of pathogens typically attributed to contact with domestic animals. The high density of ocelots on Barro Colorado Island may contribute to a high prevalence of FIV infection, as would be expected with increased contact rates among conspecifics in a geographically restricted population.
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Vol. 44 • No. 3