Increasing reports of canine distemper virus (CDV) in a variety of hosts, and changing CDV dynamics, have led to renewed interest in the ecology of CDV infections in wildlife. Longitudinal serologic studies provide insights into intrapopulation and intraindividual pathogen dynamics, but few studies in wildlife have been conducted. We used data from 235 raccoons (Procyon lotor) captured on more than one occasion between May 2011 and November 2013 to investigate CDV dynamics in Ontario, Canada. Using mixed multivariable logistic regression, we found that juvenile raccoons were more likely to be seronegative from August to November than from May to July. Using paired titers from CDV-exposed individual raccoons, we determined that the winter breeding season, when there is high intraspecific contact and an increase in susceptible juveniles, may be a period of high risk for CDV exposure. Interestingly, CDV seropositive adult raccoons had nondetectable titers ranging from 1 mo to 1 yr later. Based on our preliminary investigation using two different statistical approaches, CDV exposure was associated with a decrease in parvovirus titer. This result raises important questions about whether virus-induced immune amnesia occurs after CDV exposure, which has been described for measles virus, a closely related pathogen. Overall, our results provide significant insights into CDV dynamics. Further research is needed to investigate whether CDV-induced immune amnesia occurs in raccoons and to determine the potential impacts of a reduced population immunity that may occur secondary to CDV exposure, particularly as it relates to rabies control efforts.

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