The Principality of Andorra is surrounded by areas in which Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica) populations were severely affected by infection with border disease virus (BDV) which caused disease outbreaks between 2001 and 2009. Nevertheless, the Andorran chamois populations were not affected during this period. In light of the severe impact of BDV on several of the neighboring Pyrenean chamois populations, we monitored local Andorran populations in an effort to detect pestivirus antibodies and BDV in wild ungulates. In addition, an episode of mortality between 2009 and 2010 in chamois was investigated. We analyzed samples (spleen or serum) from 175 Pyrenean chamois, 284 European mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon), 13 roe deer (Capreolus capreolus capreolus), and five wild boars (Sus scrofa castilianus). With the exception of three dead chamois found between 2009 and 2010, all samples came from healthy animals hunted during the hunting season. A commercial blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to test sera for antibodies against pestivirus. Positive sera were tested with a comparative virus neutralization test (VNT) using three BDV strains and a bovine viral diarrhea virus strain. Reverse-transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed on all sera and spleen homogenates. Antibodies against pestivirus were detected by ELISA in four of the 69 chamois (5%; 95% CI= 1.29–13.11). The VNT confirmed three of these chamois were infected with a BDV. Viral RNA was detected by RT-PCR in three chamois—one apparently healthy animal hunted in 2009 and two dead animals. Viral sequences showed that the three chamois were infected with a BDV-4, the same genotype that was involved in previous episodes of mortality in the Pyrenees. Although Pyrenean chamois from Andorra had had little contact with the pestiviruses until 2009, in this year BDV was associated with a severe disease outbreak.
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Vol. 48 • No. 4