BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, has become the most devastating zoonotic event in recent times, with negative impacts on both human and animal welfare as well as on the global economy. Although SARS-CoV-2 is considered a human virus, it likely emerged from animals, and it can infect both domestic and wild animals. This constitutes a risk for human and animal health including wildlife with evidence of SARS-CoV-2 horizontal transmission back and forth between humans and wild animals. AIM: Molecular surveillance in different wildlife rehabilitation centers and wildlife associated institutions in Chile, which are critical points of animal-human interaction and wildlife conservation, especially since the aim of wildlife rehabilitation centers is to reintroduce animals to their original habitat. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The survey was conducted in six WRCs and three wildlife associated institutions. A total of 185 samples were obtained from 83 individuals belonging to 15 different species, including vulnerable and endangered species. Each specimen was sampled with two different swabs: one oropharyngeal or nasopharyngeal according to the nostril diameter, and/or a second rectal sample. RNA was extracted from the samples and two different molecular assays were performed: first, a conventional RT-PCR with pan-coronavirus primers and a second SARS-CoV-2 qPCR targeting the N and S genes. RESULTS: All 185 samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This study constitutes the first report on the surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 from wildlife treated in rehabilitation centers in Chile, and supports the biosafety procedures adopted in those centers.
- wildlife conservation
- wildlife rehabilitation centers
ASJC Scopus subject areas