Several Gir lion samples test positive for CDV
ICMR-NIV asked the government on Tuesday to shift healthy lions from Gujarat's Gir forest after, it said, fresh samples of the wild cats tested positive for a virus, which had wiped out 30 per cent of lion population in East Africa, indicating "active disease transmission".
Since September 12, as many as 23 lions have died in the sanctuary, at least 11 of them due to the CDV and Protozoa infections, according to forest officials.
"Specimens were again tested for the Canine Distemper virus (CDV) by using molecular methods i.e. RT-PCR. One or more samples from 21 out of 27 Gir lions have tested positive for CDV.
"This indicates active disease transmission among the Gir lions," the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV) said in a statement.
The ICMR, New Delhi, is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research. ICMR-NIV had received a total of 80 samples of nasal, ocular and rectal swabs from 27 Gir lions which were sick and under treatment and observation at Sakkarbaug Zoo.