However, they carry the parapox virus
which can be passed to red squirrels which do not have immunity from the disease.
Grey squirrels carry the squirrelpox virus, also called squirrel parapox virus
, which is destroying the red squirrel population in the UK.
The Red Squirrel Survival Trust (RSST) has about PS2.5m to spend on eradicating greys, which carry the lethal parapox virus
which directly affects the red squirrel population.
The causative agent is paravaccina/ parapox virus
which is DNA virus by nature.
Contagious ecthyma (CE) is a contagious specific skin-disease of small ruminants, caused by a parapox virus
of family poxviridae (Savory et al., 2000).
Specialist research carried out by the University of Liverpool discovered that an adult native red that contracted the fatal disease - called parapox virus
- fought it off and lived.
Orf (ecthyma contagiosum) is considered an uncommon zoonotic viral infection caused by a Parapox virus
, which results in ulcerative stomatitis in mainly sheep and goats.1 The disease may be transmitted to humans by direct or indirect contact of damaged skin with infected animals.
The parapox virus
is carried by grey squirrels - which are immune to it - but it is highly contagious and passes on to the reds, which have no immunity from it.
The return of the Parapox virus
is a blow to efforts to rebuild Ainsdale and Formby's population after reds were decimated by the disease three years ago.
That's bad enough, but greys also carry parapox virus
, which rarely harms them, but is lethal to reds.
Dr Colin McInnes, of the Moredun Institute in Scotland, is carrying out research on the role of the parapox virus
in the decline of the red squirrel.
Thousands of the animals have been wiped out by the parapox virus
, which is spread by the larger grey squirrels, who are immune.