The role of invasive grey squirrels as hosts of selected viruses, bacteria and parasites; implications for conservation and public health

Millins, C. L. , Brereton, A. and Everest, D. (2016) The role of invasive grey squirrels as hosts of selected viruses, bacteria and parasites; implications for conservation and public health. In: Shuttleworth, C. M., Lurz, P. W.W. and Gurnell, J. (eds.) The Grey Squirrel: Ecology and Management of an Invasive Species in Europe. European Squirrel Initiative: Bangor, UK, pp. 173-191. ISBN 9780954757649

Millins, C. L. , Brereton, A. and Everest, D. (2016) The role of invasive grey squirrels as hosts of selected viruses, bacteria and parasites; implications for conservation and public health. In: Shuttleworth, C. M., Lurz, P. W.W. and Gurnell, J. (eds.) The Grey Squirrel: Ecology and Management of an Invasive Species in Europe. European Squirrel Initiative: Bangor, UK, pp. 173-191. ISBN 9780954757649

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Abstract

The introduction of invasive vertebrate hosts can result in changed parasite dynamics, with implications for native species conservation and human health. While the association of invasive grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) and squirrelpox virus (SQPV) with red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) decline is well documented, the effect of grey squirrel introduction on the dynamics of other infections and parasites has been studied relatively less. Here, we review current knowledge of invasive grey squirrels as hosts of selected viruses (adenovirus and rotavirus), bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and Bartonella) and protozoa (Hepatozoon) to assess potential impacts on red squirrels and public health. We describe the known distribution of these organisms in grey and red squirrels in Europe, pathogenicity and methods of detection. We found that knowledge of each pathogens distribution and assessment of the risk of cross-species transmission are limited by the opportunistic nature of sampling and limited molecular strain typing. For all organisms, sampling from sympatric grey and red squirrel populations and applying molecular strain typing will improve knowledge for potential cross-species transmission and reservoir host associations. In the context of the selected viruses, bacteria and protozoa considered in this chapter (SQPV is considered separately in this book), adenovirus is associated with the most significant pathogenic effects and mortality in red squirrels and should therefore be a priority for further research.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Millins, Dr Caroline
Authors: Millins, C. L., Brereton, A., and Everest, D.
Subjects:Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QR Microbiology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Publisher:European Squirrel Initiative
ISBN:9780954757649

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