New poxvirus found in red squirrels in Germany

A poxvirus called BerSQPV has been isolated from red squirrels near Berlin in Germany. Several abandoned weak young red squirrels were given to a squirrel sanctuary in 2015 and 2016. Each one showed some signs similar to squirrelpox virus in red squirrels in Britain and Ireland including exudative and erosive-to-ulcerative dermatitis and scabs to the ears, nose, tail and in the genital/perianal region. The orthopoxvirus identified by Gundren Wibbelt from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin and colleagues appears new and could not be assigned to any other known poxvirus group. Comparisons with a SQPV virus identified from a red squirrel in Spain in 2011 have yet to be made. It is possible that the disease has been established in the area for several years. Further details can be found here.


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