The oryx antelope (Oryx gazella): An unexpected host for Porcine Circovirus-2 (PCV-2)

For several years after its discovery, Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV-2) represented a major threat to the swine industry through economic losses due to the associated clinical syndromes, decreased production performances in both symptomatic and asymptomatic animals and disease management costs. Widespread vaccination administration has largely reduced the impact of this infection and represents the most effective control measure. The efficacy of vaccination is threatened by the emergence of novel (or uncommon) PCV-2 genotypes. In addition to domestic pigs, PCV-2 has been detected in several other species, a fact which could have an impact on new variant emergence and maintenance. Considering this, the present study assessed the distribution of the minor PCV-2c genotype in non-Suidae ungulates in Namibia. Red hartebeests (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama) (n = 44), kudus (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) (n = 10) and oryxes (Oryx gazella) (n = 54), whose mediastinal lymph nodes were sampled after slaughtering during the period 2019–2021, were included in the study. Two oryxes (3.7%; 95% CI = 0.45–12.75%) were PCV-2-positive by PCR. Complete genome sequence was obtained for the two samples identifying them as PCV-2c genotype. The sequences were identical and shared a high percentage of identity (~99.9%) with those recently obtained from warthogs living in the same area. The present study confirms the presence of the PCV-2c genotype (previously considered extinct) in Namibian wild animal populations and demonstrates greater than expected PCV-2 host plasticity. Because of the role these niches can have in the maintenance and evolution of minor PCV-2 genotypes, more extensive and dedicated studies should be performed to prepare authorities to promptly react to potential emerging threats from these viruses.
PCV-2c; Namibia; oryxes; epidemiology; molecular epidemiology