Unsterilized feed as the apparent cause of a mouse parvovirus outbreak

Julie Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In early 2009, we experienced a widespread outbreak of mouse parvoviruses 1 and 2 (MPV) at our institution, which encompasses approximately 50,000 cages located in 7 campus vivaria. MPV had not been detected for several years; however, during a single 4-mo sentinel-testing rotation comprising all racks at the institution, 72 of 927 rack sentinels tested serologically positive for MPV1, MPV2, or both. PCR of fecal samples from several index cases confirmed MPV. Each sentinel-positive rack contained between 0 and 10 infected colony cages. Positive racks appeared to be randomly distributed, although several small facilities escaped infection. We investigated how this infection may have entered the facilities, in which mice were maintained in barrier caging with sterilized feed, bedding, and equipment, and procedures were in place to prevent incoming infection and cross-contamination. The only widespread change that occurred during the 3 mo preceding the first positive test was that every cage had been treated for 12 wk with an unsterilized fenbendazole-medicated diet. At the completion of fenbendazole treatment, sterilized feed was reinstituted. Evidence of MPV infection was eliminated within 7 mo via an intensive test-and-remove policy in combination with movement controls, and we have had no further positive tests in the 3.5 y since the outbreak. Although the possibility remains that MPV infection resulted from fomites or undetected infections in incoming mice, the timing and extent of this outbreak together with the complete absence of new cases after sterilized feed was reinstituted strongly implicate unsterilized feed as the source of this MPV outbreak.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • HRR
  • High-risk return
  • MPV
  • Mouse parvovirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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