COS 12-7 - Mechanisms of intra- and interspecific transmission of a newly discovered pathogen: Hemoplasma in felids

Monday, August 8, 2011: 3:40 PM
17B, Austin Convention Center
Scott S. Carver, School of Zoology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, Sue VandeWoude, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, Kevin R. Crooks, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO and Michael Lappin, Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

Determining mechanisms underlying the transmission of newly recognized pathogens can be challenging, yet is fundamental to comprehend dynamics and, where appropriate, apply management. Transmission mechanisms for the newly recognized feline hemoplasma, ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum’, have not been elucidated.


We noted high incidence of this pathogen in bobcats, puma, and domestic cats in Colorado and California (3-77%, via PCR). We created a priori hypotheses/models of various transmission scenarios within and among domestic cats, pumas, and bobcats. Sources of hypothesized transmission included vector-borne, aggression and predation. Directionality in transmission (domestic to wild felids, wild to domestic and both directions) was also modeled. We then compared predictions from these models to incidence data, and identified optimal hypotheses by model selection. Results suggested transmission of ‘Candidatus M. haemominutum’ is vector-borne, transmitted within and among all species, and may also be transmitted by predation, but transmission by intraspecific aggression is unlikely. This approach may be useful to identify transmission mechanisms for other host-pathogen systems.

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