Possible Transmission Dynamics of Canine Distemper Virus at Khumbu Region of Nepal

Yogendra Shah1, 2, *, Dhan Kumar Pant1, Krishna Ojha1, Minu Sharma1, Fowler Peter3
1 National Zoonoses and Food Hygiene Research Centre, Kathmandu, Nepal
2 Everest International Clinic and Research Center, Kathmandu, Nepal
3 College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, USA

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© 2019 Shah et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the National Zoonoses and Food Hygiene Research Centre, Kathmandu, Nepal; E-mail: yogendra90@hotmail.com


Canine distemper caused by Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) belongs to the genus Morbillivirus of the family Paramyxoviridae [1-3]. CDV is a highly contagious and neglected zoonotic disease that affects mainly the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous system [4]. This virus occurs among domestic dogs and many other carnivores including wild animals such as raccoons, wolves, skunks and foxes. It is also frequently found in house pets and ferrets. Young, unvaccinated puppies and non-immunized older dogs are more susceptible to this disease [5-9]. However, CDV is preventable and has been controlled in many countries through the use of live attenuated vaccines in a similar manner to rabies. Based on the H gene of CDV; phyologenetic analysis revealed that fourteen major geographically genetic lineages of CDV including Asia1, Asia 2, Europe and America are widely distributed throughout the world [5, 10, 11].

CDV is considered a major public health concern among street dogs in Pokhara valley with one study reporting that CDV prevalence to be 2.3% [12]. While this may seem low, serum antibodies to CVD have been shown to be in high prevalence in another study of dog serum. This study was conducted in collaboration with Australian University and focused on dogs in the Khumbu region surrounding a wildlife sanctuary when tested by IgG ELISA as following the manufacture instructions [Demeditec Diagnostics GmbH, Germany] (Personal communication with NZFHRC team).

Khumbu is one of the popular tourist destinations of Nepal where rabies is still endemic and stray dogs are common. Information regarding the risk of rabies exposure among travelers is limited in Nepal. However, previous study conducted in Nepal shows that animal exposure occurs in Kathmandu and monkey bite/scratches accounts for 43% of all exposure to tourists in that area [13]. Tourists from different countries have different behaviors that can be related to higher or lower risk of animal exposure. Another important factor could be that rabies is endemic in the region. The Khumbu area is a forest fringe where wild animals like jackals, bats, wolves and wild dogs are found which can act as a wildlife reservoir for rabies which can then spill over into other more domesticated animals. Not only travelers but local people especially children are inevitably at risk as well [13].

Foreign residents of Nepal are significantly more likely to be exposed to rabies than tourists. Trekking does not increase the chances of being exposed to rabies. Children have a higher risk of being bitten on the face and head, and females are more likely than males to be bitten or scratched by possibly rabid animals [13]. However, to present date there is no data available regarding the testing of surveillance for CDV either in dogs or wild life animals in Nepal.

Therefore, Government of Nepal should initiate active surveillance of both diseases (rabies and CDV) in stray dogs as well as on wild carnivores near protected areas of Nepal like Khumbu region to further prevent the outbreak of these two zoonotic diseases to human population living near the buffer zone. The government of Nepal has initiated active surveillance of both diseases (rabies and CDV) in stray dogs and carnivores wild animals to prevent the outbreak of these both zoonotic diseases to human population. It is recommended that a regular vaccination control policy programme, diagnosis, treatment, online record keeping system and risk assessment should be undertaken.


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