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Article

Investigating the Presence of SARS CoV-2 in Free-Living and Captive Animals

1
Virology Department, Croatian Veterinary Institute, Savska Cesta 143, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
2
Poultry Center, Croatian Veterinary Institute, Heinzelova 55, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
3
Zagreb Zoo, Maksimirski Perivoj, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Luis Martinez-Sobrido
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060635
Received: 30 April 2021 / Revised: 17 May 2021 / Accepted: 20 May 2021 / Published: 21 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging and Neglected Viruses and Zoonoses)
Due to SARS CoV-2 recombination rates, number of infected people and recent reports of environmental contamination, the possibility of SARS CoV-2 transmission to animals can be expected. We tested samples of dominant free-living and captive wildlife species in Croatia for the presence of anti-SARS CoV-2 antibodies and viral RNA. In total, from June 2020 until February 2021, we tested blood, muscle extract and fecal samples of 422 free-living wild boars (Sus scrofa), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and jackals (Canis aureus); blood and cloacal swabs of 111 yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis) and fecal samples of 32 zoo animals. A commercially available ELISA (ID.Vet, France) and as a confirmatory test, a surrogate virus neutralization test (sVNT; GenScript, Netherlands) were used. Fecal samples were tested for the presence of viral RNA by a real-time RT–PCR protocol. Fifteen out of 533 (2.8%) positive ELISA results were detected; in wild boars (3.9%), red foxes (2.9%) and jackals (4.6%). However, the positive findings were not confirmed by sVNT. No viral RNA was found. In conclusion, no spillover occurred within the investigated period (second COVID-19 wave). However, further investigation is needed, especially regarding wildlife sample features for serological tests. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS CoV-2; serology; RNA detection; free-living wild animals; zoo animals SARS CoV-2; serology; RNA detection; free-living wild animals; zoo animals
MDPI and ACS Style

Jemeršić, L.; Lojkić, I.; Krešić, N.; Keros, T.; Zelenika, T.A.; Jurinović, L.; Skok, D.; Bata, I.; Boras, J.; Habrun, B.; Brnić, D. Investigating the Presence of SARS CoV-2 in Free-Living and Captive Animals. Pathogens 2021, 10, 635. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060635

AMA Style

Jemeršić L, Lojkić I, Krešić N, Keros T, Zelenika TA, Jurinović L, Skok D, Bata I, Boras J, Habrun B, Brnić D. Investigating the Presence of SARS CoV-2 in Free-Living and Captive Animals. Pathogens. 2021; 10(6):635. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060635

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jemeršić, Lorena, Ivana Lojkić, Nina Krešić, Tomislav Keros, Tajana A. Zelenika, Luka Jurinović, Damir Skok, Ingeborg Bata, Jadranko Boras, Boris Habrun, and Dragan Brnić. 2021. "Investigating the Presence of SARS CoV-2 in Free-Living and Captive Animals" Pathogens 10, no. 6: 635. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060635

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