STORY OF CANINE DISTEMPER VIRUS (CDV):
Canine distemper is caused by an enveloped single-stranded RNA virus in the Paramyxoviridae family and is closely related to viruses that cause measles, rinderpest, and distemper in other animals. Canine distemper virus (CDV) is capable of infecting a large variety of species including canids, mustelids (e.g., ferrets, skunks), and procyonids (e.g., raccoons). Host range is defined by the viral surface hemagglutinin protein, and there are six major lineages based on hemagglutinin genetic variability. Each lineage contains biotypes or strains that differ in pathogenicity patterns. Despite vaccinating dogs for more than 50 years, CDV is still prevalent in many U.S. communities. Although uncommonly seen in veterinary practices, distemper outbreaks occur frequently in shelter facilities.
Free-roaming unvaccinated dogs have increased risk for virus exposure based on more opportunity to interface with CDV-infected raccoons, skunks, and other wildlife.