Serious declines in populations of native European mink (Mustela lutreola) have occurred in Europe. One responsible factor may be infectious diseases introduced by exotic American mink (Mustela vison). In order to investigate a possible role for Aleutian mink disease parvovirus (ADV), we surveyed native riparian carnivores and feral American mink. When serum samples from 12 free-ranging European and 16 feral American mink were tested, antibodies to ADV were detected from three of nine European mink. ADV DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction in whole cell DNA from four of seven carcasses; two American mink, one European mink and a Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra). Lesions typical of Aleutian disease were present in one of the American mink. A portion of the ADV VP2 capsid gene was sequenced and the results suggested that two sequence types of ADV were circulating in Spain, and that the Spanish ADVs differed from other described isolates from North America and Europe. Future conservation and restoration efforts should include measures to avoid introduction or spread of ADV infection to native animals.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1