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Wildlife
Adenovirus detected in juvenile squirrels
  1. David J. Everest1,
  2. Akbar Dastjerdi1,
  3. David Cowan2,
  4. Matthew Gomm2,
  5. Craig M. Shuttleworth3,
  6. Colin J. McInnes4,
  7. David Deane4,
  8. Lesley Coulter4,
  9. Aileen Mill5,
  10. Steven P. Rushton5,
  11. Nicholas L. Jackson6 and
  12. Peter Litherland6
  1. 1APHA-Weybridge, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 3NB e-mail: david.everest@apha.gsi.gov.uk
  2. 2National Wildlife Centre, APHA-York, Sand Hutton, York, North Yorkshire YO41 1LZ
  3. 3Red Squirrels Trust Wales, Plas Newydd Country House, Llanfairpwll, Anglesey LL61 6DQ
  4. 4Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0PZ
  5. 5School of Biology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU
  6. 6National Zoological Society of Wales, Welsh Mountain Zoo, National Zoo of Wales, Colwyn Bay, Conwy LL28 5UY

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SURVEYS of wild red (Sciurus vulgaris) and grey (Sciurus carolinensis) squirrels have revealed adenovirus (Everest and others 2009, 2010) and squirrelpox virus (SQPV) infections in both species (Atkin and others 2010), but, so far, it is unclear whether maternal transfer of either virus type to juveniles takes place. Here, we report evidence of maternal transfer of adenovirus DNA in juvenile wild grey and captive red squirrels.

In the summer and autumn of 2014, as part of ongoing control programmes, a study was undertaken to investigate adenovirus presence in grey squirrels, killed by the approved cranial dispatch technique from several woodland locations across a large area of northern Gwynedd adjacent to the Menai Straits. In addition to carcases obtained from trap-based control operations, juvenile grey squirrels still in the nest were taken from nest boxes erected within a mixed deciduous woodland in Gwynedd and within the grounds of the Welsh Mountain Zoo, Conwy, and …

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