Grant Funds Study On Disease Transmission In Fractured Habitats

Colorado State University will undertake a study on disease transmission due to fractured habitats.

Photo courtesy of Adam Jones

A $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation will allow researchers at Colorado State University to study how fractured habitats influence disease transmission between wild cats (pumas and bobcats) and domestic cats.

The research, to be conducted in California, Florida and Colorado, will focus on the similarity of feline immunodeficiency virus strains in the cats.

“We suspect that the spectrum of pathogens and the rate of infection changes as habitat fragmentation forces those species to live in closer proximity,” said Sue VandeWoude, DVM, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology and principal investigator of the study.

Preliminary research shows that wild cats in California and Florida share FIV strains in restricted habitats, demonstrating cross-species transmission.

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