Because carnivores are exposed to OPV through predation on rodents, virus-specific DNA or antibodies in carnivores could serve as an indicator for the epizootiologic situation in rodent populations ().To our knowledge, no cowpox virus case has been reported in free-ranging wild felids.
Furthermore, debilitated lynx affected by sarcoptic mange and orphans searching for easily accessible food are often found around human settlements.
Interactions between diseased lynx and domestic cats and dogs have been documented ( Most (245) animals submitted were apparently healthy (225 killed by hunters, 19 died of traumatic injury, 1 died of acute circulatory failure during anesthesia), 15 had sarcoptic mange, and 3 died of starvation caused by noninfectious or unclear etiology.
The southernmost part of Sweden belongs to the broad-leaf forest region of central Europe but is mainly cultivated.
Lynx typically live in forested areas and are found throughout most of Scandinavia. Although their main prey are roe deer, they also prey on reindeer and sheep.
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Later, vaccinia virus, another OPV with unknown origin, was used as a vaccine virus through the global smallpox eradication campaign, and cowpox virus infections became less common in cattle, other animals, and humans.
However, during recent decades, cowpox virus infections have reemerged in domestic cats and other animals, including wild animals in captivity (), OPV, presumably cowpox virus, is probably widespread among wildlife in Scandinavia, having small wild rodent populations as a reservoir.
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