Identification of a novel coronavirus possibly associated with acute respiratory syndrome in alpacas (Vicugna pacos) in California, 2007

Beate Crossley, Bradd C. Barr, K G Magdesian, Michelle Ing, Daniel Mora, David Jensen, Alexandre P. Loretti, Ty Mcconnell, Richard Mock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Alpaca respiratory syndrome (ARS) was first recognized in California in October 2007. This syndrome is characterized by acute respiratory signs, high fever, and occasional sudden death, and has mostly been observed in pregnant alpacas (Vicugna pacos), although all signalments have been affected. A similarity in clinical signs to cases located on the East Coast of the United States was observed; however, a causative agent had not been identified. Preliminary diagnostic submissions to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS) were negative for known bacterial, parasitic, fungal, and viral pathogens, as well as for toxins, making the etiology of this disease unknown. However, based on pathologic findings, a viral or toxic etiology was strongly considered. A novel coronavirus was recovered from lung tissue of a clinical case submitted to CAHFS. The coronavirus identity was confirmed in tissue culture by transmission electron microscopy and by sequence analysis of a conserved region within the viral genome. Statistical analysis calculating a serologic association between the serum virus neutralization antibody titer and coronavirus, the presence of exposure history on 40 animals with a history of ARS, and 167 controls provided an odds ratio of 121 (95% confidence interval: 36.54 and 402.84; P, 0.0001). The findings indicate that the ARS-associated coronavirus described is distinct from the previously reported gastrointestinal-associated coronavirus identified in alpaca herds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-97
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Alpacas
  • Camelids
  • Coronavirus
  • Respiratory infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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