Spatial analysis of feline immunodeficiency virus infection in cougars

Wheeler, D. C., Waller, L. A. and Biek, R. (2010) Spatial analysis of feline immunodeficiency virus infection in cougars. Spatial and Spatio-Temporal Epidemiology, 1(2-3), pp. 151-161. (doi: 10.1016/j.sste.2010.03.009) (PMID:21197421) (PMCID:PMC3010737)

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Abstract

The cougar (Puma concolor) is a large predatory feline found widely in the Americas that is susceptible to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a fast-evolving lentivirus found in wild feline species that is analogous to simian immunodeficiency viruses in wild primates and belongs to the same family of viruses as human immunodeficiency virus. FIV infection in cougars can lead to a weakened immune system that creates opportunities for other infecting agents. FIV prevalence and lineages have been studied previously in several areas in the western United States, but typically without spatially explicit statistical techniques. To describe the distribution of FIV in a sample of cougars located in the northern Rocky Mountain region of North America, we first used kernel density ratio estimation to map the log relative risk of FIV. The risk surface showed a significant cluster of FIV in northwestern Montana. We also used Bayesian cluster models for genetic data to investigate the spatial structure of the feline immunodeficiency virus with virus genetic sequence data. A result of the models was two spatially distinct FIV lineages that aligned considerably with an interstate highway in Montana. Our results suggest that the use of spatial information and models adds novel insight when investigating an infectious animal disease. The results also suggest that the influence of landscape features likely plays an important role in the spatiotemporal spread of an infectious disease within wildlife populations.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Biek, Professor Roman
Authors: Wheeler, D. C., Waller, L. A., and Biek, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Spatial and Spatio-Temporal Epidemiology
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN:1877-5845

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