Viral diversity in Alpacas in Switzerland (ongoing)

vet.med. Master thesis by Andrea Bräker

New world camelids such as alpacas are becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland and are often kept together with other ruminants such as sheep and goats. While they are an exotic species in Switzerland, they are known to be largely susceptible to viruses of local ruminant species. However, alpacas are not routinely monitored for enzootic viruses such as IBR or BVDV that are (being) eradicated in Switzerland. Hence, alpacas might represent a reservoir for these viruses from which they may be reintroduced into the original host. On the other hand, alpacas may carry their own range of viruses that could be transmitted to local domesticated or wild ruminants.
Therefore, this project aims at determining the range of viruses present in alpacas from three different herds, one in contact with sheep. Blood samples, nasal swabs and faecal samples will be collected from the 80 alpacas and 20 sheep and testes specifically for certain viruses (IBR, BVDV, BTV and others) using ELISA and PCR. In addition, the whole range of viruses is analysed using next generation sequencing following our in-house ViroScreen (PDF, 376 KB) protocol.