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Retrospective detection by negative contrast electron microscopy of faecal viral particles in free-living wild red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) with suspected enteropathy in Great Britain
  1. D. J. Everest1,
  2. M. F. Stidworthy, MA, VetMB, PhD, FRCPath, MRCVS2,
  3. E. M. Milne, BVM&S, PhD, DipECVCP, DipRCPath, FRCVS3,
  4. A. L. Meredith, MA, VetMB, CertLAS, DZooMed, MRCVS3,
  5. J. Chantrey, BSc, BVM&S, PhD, DipRCPath, MRCVS4,
  6. C. Shuttleworth, PhD5,
  7. T. Blackett, BVetMed, MRCVS6,
  8. H. Butler, MSc7,
  9. M. Wilkinson, MSc8 and
  10. A. W. Sainsbury, BVetMed, CertZooMed, DVetMed, DipECZM, MRCVS9
  1. Veterinary Laboratories Agency – Weybridge, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB
  2. International Zoo Veterinary Group, Keighley Business Centre, South Street, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD21 1AG
  3. Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG
  4. Wildlife Infectious Diseases Group, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Chester High Road, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE
  5. Red Squirrel Survival Trust, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BB
  6. JSPCA Animals' Shelter, 89 St Saviours Road, St Helier, Jersey JE2 4GJ
  7. Wight Squirrel Project, PO Box 33, Ryde, Isle of Wight PO33 1BH
  8. Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Garden House, St Nicholas Park, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 3XT
  9. Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY
  1. E-mail for correspondence d.j.everest{at}
  • Dr Milne is also at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG

Transmission electron microscopy identified adenovirus particles in 10 of 70 (14.3 per cent) samples of large intestinal content collected at postmortem examination from free-living wild red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) across Great Britain between 2000 and 2009. Examination was limited to cases in which an enteropathy was suspected on the basis of predetermined macroscopic criteria such as semi-solid or diarrhoeic faeces, suspected enteritis or the presence of intussusception. In most cases, meaningful histological examination of enteric tissue was not possible due to pronounced autolysis. Two (2.9 per cent) of the samples were negative for adenovirus but were found to contain rotavirus particles, a novel finding in this species.

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  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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