Laboratory records of serology results from captive macropodidae sampled between 1997 and 2005 were reviewed to assess the seroprevalence of retrovirus exposure. Serum samples from 269 individuals (136 males, 133 females) representing 10 species of macropods housed in 31 North American captive collections were analyzed for retrovirus antibody using an indirect immunofluorescent assay. The prevalence of positive antibody titers comparing male versus female, between species, between age groups, and among animals with identified parentage was examined by nonparametric statistical analyses. Median age of animals at time of sample collection was 36 mo (range 2–201 mo). Total percentage seropositive was 20.4%. Serum antibody was detected in 31 of 47 (66.0%) tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii), nine of 24 (37.5%) yellow-footed rock wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus), four of 11 (36.4%) swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor), 10 of 80 (12.5%) red-necked wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus), and one of 54 (1.9%) parma wallaby (Macropus parma). No individuals of western gray kangaroo (n = 3) (Macropus fuliginosus), eastern gray kangaroo (n = 19) (Macropus giganteus), common wallaroo (n = 6) (Macropus robustus), red kangaroo (n = 11) (Macropus rufus), or Matschie's tree kangaroo (n = 14) (Dendrolagus matschiei) were positive for retrovirus antibody. These results demonstrate that five species of captive macropods have a history of exposure to retrovirus, with the highest percentage seropositive and highest statistical correlation in M. eugenii (pair-wise Fisher's exact test, alpha = 0.05). Additionally, one wild-caught M. eugenii was confirmed seropositive during quarantine period, indicating that retrovirus exposure may exist in wild populations.
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Vol. 39 • No. 3