Infectious Pathogens and Resistance to Diseases Related to Ursids: Are Microparasites a Factor in the Ursid Threatened Species Management Plans?
The Carnivora comprise 15 families1 and they are identified as one of the mammal groups most threatened by infectious agents.2-4 However, in the case of Ursids, several authors have suggested that members of this family have a high resistance to infectious diseases5-11 and therefore infectious disease wouldn’t be relevant for their management. In order to document the relationship between pathogens (viruses, protozoa, and bacteria), susceptibility to infection and clinical disease in ursids, a literature review was conducted.
Reports (which included pathology, parasitology, molecular diagnostics, isolation and serum titers) document susceptibility to infection by 43 different pathogens. Additionally, at least 65 clinical reports documented disease caused by 20 pathogens, with viruses being the most common pathogen type associated with clinical disease. Although these reports mostly document individuals being affected rather than entire wild populations, it is very important to take infectious diseases into account for ex situ and translocation management programs. Thus, biosecurity and preventive medicine protocols may be established for selected pathogens as an important issue for captive bear populations and translocation programs. In conclusion, further studies about the relationship of infectious pathogens and Ursidae family may be conducted.
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