The European mink, Mustela lutreola, is one of the most endangered carnivores in the world, and mink populations have suffered a dramatic decline in Europe during the 20th century.6 The subpopulation of mink from Navarra (n=420) represents approximately 66% of the total number of mink in Spain.2 Aleutian disease virus (ADV) is a parvovirus with a high degree of variability4 that can infect a broad range of mustelid hosts.3,7 The pathogenesis of this virus in small carnivores depends on both host variables (species, genotype in the American mink, and immune status) and viral factors (e.g., viral strain).1,5 A cross-sectional study was conducted in February–March (pre-reproductive period) 2004 and 2005, and September–December (post-reproductive period) of 2004 to assess the ADV status of the Navarra population of mink. Mink were intensively trapped along seven rivers representative of the European mink habitat in Navarra. Counterimmunoelectrophoresis for the detection of antibodies against ADV was performed on 84 European mink blood samples. All the samples were negative. Protein electrophoresis was performed on serum samples from 82 European mink. Of these, nine (9.6%) had gamma globulin levels exceeding 20% of the total plasma protein. Complete necropsies were performed on 23 European mink from the area. In 17 (74%) of the cases the lesions were compatible with road traffic accidents. There were no histologic lesions associated with ADV. Based on these results, ADV does not appear to represent a significant problem in this population at this time.
The authors thank Alfonso Ceña Martínez, Gabriel Berasategui Echevarría, Iosu Alfaro Vergarachea, Itsaso Bidegain Garbala, Uxue Itoitz Mariñelarena for the trapping of the animals and Benjamín Gómez Moliner for the technical support during the study. This study was supported by Gobierno de Navarra Departamento de Medio Ambiente, Ordenación del Territorio y Vivienda.
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