Virus and virus-like particles observed in the intestinal contents of the possum,Trichosurus vulpecula
Sera collected from the Australian brush-tailed possum Trichosurus vulpecula in New Zealand in 1975 and 1989 were tested for the presence of antibodies to adenovirus. Of the 231 sera tested in an agar gel diffusion test, eight (3.5%) had precipitating antibodies to the group specific antigen of mammalian adenoviruses. Available data allowed 99/231 sera to be classified as being obtained from either adult (total 62) or sexually immature (total 37) possums. From the adult animals, 4/62 (6.5%) sera were positive, while no reactive sera were detected among the 37 immature animals. The results provide evidence that natural infection by an adenovirus occurs in possums in New Zealand. Further work needs to be carried out to isolate this adenovirus to enable detailed serological and epidemiological studies to be performed. A species-specific possum adenovirus could have potential in the biological control of this species.