The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of mustelid herpesvirus-1 (MusHV-1) infection in free-ranging badgers (Meles meles) in the British Isles. A polymerase chain reaction assay was developed that detected MusHV-1 DNA in 95% (18/19) and 100% (10/10) of anticoagulant-treated blood samples collected from free-ranging badgers sampled in the southwest of England and the Republic of Ireland, respectively. An indirect immunoassay was also developed to detect MusHV-1–specific immunoglobulin-G in serum samples. Using an arbitrary cutoff of twice the optical density obtained with a virus-negative preparation, 32.7% (36/110) of sera sampled from badgers were positive. The conclusion drawn from these data is that infection with MusHV-1 is common among free-ranging badgers in the British Isles.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1