Parasitic Diseases from Wild Animals with Emphasis in Zoonotic Infections

A special issue of Microorganisms (ISSN 2076-2607). This special issue belongs to the section "Parasitology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021) | Viewed by 33691

Special Issue Editor

Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Interests: parasitic diseases; zoonosis; Giardia; Trichomonas; Blastocystis; Leishmania; epidemiology; natural products; treatment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In a changing world, wildlife is under continuous threat and this promotes the spread of disease. Wildlife displacement and stress due to human activity (urbanization, exotic travel) are common, but the availability of food and shelter also attracts wild animals to peri-urban areas, such as foxes, bats, raccoons, and wild boar. Global warming can lead to an increase in wildlife diseases, including those transmitted by vectors, but this is also the case for diseases transmitted by water due to the increased intake.

Among these diseases, parasitic infections are common, with wild animals frequently blamed for being reservoirs for diseases affecting domestic animals and humans. The transmission can be vector-borne (Leishmania, Trypanosoma, Dirofilaria, Thelazia) or by contact or fomites (ectoparasites, hookworms), but it can also be through drinking contaminated water (Giardia, Cryptosporidium) or eating contaminated meat (Toxoplasma, Trichinella), vegetables, and fruits (Echinococcus, Baylisascaris).

The aim of this Special Issue is to give an overall picture of zoonotic parasitic diseases of wild animals, including the pathology, treatment, diagnosis, epidemiology, and transmission in the context of a “one health” approach. With this purpose, we welcome research articles, reviews, and short communications related to the subject. I count on you to offer cutting-edge information on this topic and hope that it will improve on the current body of research related to wildlife.

Dr. María Teresa Gómez-Muñoz
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • parasites
  • wild animals
  • zoonosis
  • Toxoplasma
  • Giardia
  • Leishmania
  • Trypanosoma
  • Trichinella
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Baylisascaris
  • Echinococcus
  • Thelazia
  • vector borne zoonosis
  • nematodes
  • cestodes
  • protozoa
  • flatworms
  • arthropods
  • pentastomids

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 199 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial for the Special Issue “Parasitic Diseases from Wild Animals with Emphasis on Zoonotic Infections”
Microorganisms 2021, 9(11), 2267; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9112267 - 31 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1027
Abstract
The present Editorial intends to briefly describe the findings published in the Special Issue, “Parasitic diseases from wild animals with an emphasis on zoonotic infections”. Prevalence data or diagnostic techniques were the focus of several zoonotic parasites transmitted from wildlife, including the protozoa [...] Read more.
The present Editorial intends to briefly describe the findings published in the Special Issue, “Parasitic diseases from wild animals with an emphasis on zoonotic infections”. Prevalence data or diagnostic techniques were the focus of several zoonotic parasites transmitted from wildlife, including the protozoa Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Blastocystis and Leishmania, and the helminths Echinococcus and Anisakis. Full article

Research

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14 pages, 701 KiB  
Communication
Preliminary Data on the Occurrence of Anisakis spp. in European Hake (Merluccius merluccius) Caught Off the Portuguese Coast and on Reports of Human Anisakiosis in Portugal
Microorganisms 2022, 10(2), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10020331 - 01 Feb 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2057
Abstract
Parasitic nematodes of the genus Anisakis are among the most important biological hazards associated with seafood. A survey of Anisakis spp. in European hake (Merluccius merluccius) was undertaken as this species is a staple of the Portuguese diet. Moreover, a literature [...] Read more.
Parasitic nematodes of the genus Anisakis are among the most important biological hazards associated with seafood. A survey of Anisakis spp. in European hake (Merluccius merluccius) was undertaken as this species is a staple of the Portuguese diet. Moreover, a literature review of cases of anisakiosis reported from Portugal, a country with one of the highest levels of fish consumption in the world, was also carried out. Seventy-five European hake caught in the Atlantic Ocean off the northern coast of Portugal were analyzed to determine the infection levels and site distribution of Anisakis spp. Isolated nematode larvae were identified to species level by molecular analysis. Two sets of samples were collected. Firstly, a total of 46 Anisakis spp. L3 larvae were collected with a prevalence of 76.7% (95% CI 61.5–91.8%) and intensity (mean ± SD, range) of 2.0 ± 1.2 (1–5). Most larvae were found on the liver (45.7%) and on the gonads (32.6%), but none in the muscle. The molecular analysis showed the presence of both A. simplex s.s. (70%) and A. pegreffii (30%). For the second sample, analyzed using the UV-Press method, a total of 473 Anisakis spp. were found, with a prevalence of 95.6% (95% CI 89.5–100.0%), intensity (mean ± SD, range) of 11.3 ± 9.7 (1–41), density of 0.05 ± 0.04 (0–0.16) worms/muscle weight in g, and density of 0.54 ± 0.50 (0–2.53) worms/viscera weight in g. Surprisingly, only three very recent cases of human anisakiosis in Portugal have been reported in the literature. Data from this study contribute towards an updating of the existing epidemiological picture in an area characterized by very high seafood consumption and changing eating habits. Full article
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19 pages, 606 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Direct and Indirect Toxoplasma gondii Detection and Genotyping in Game: Relationship and Challenges
Microorganisms 2021, 9(8), 1663; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081663 - 04 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2976
Abstract
The importance of game as a source of Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) infection in humans is largely unknown. New data on the presence of T. gondii in game hunted in the Federal State of Brandenburg, Germany, were obtained by direct and [...] Read more.
The importance of game as a source of Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) infection in humans is largely unknown. New data on the presence of T. gondii in game hunted in the Federal State of Brandenburg, Germany, were obtained by direct and indirect detection (ELISA). DNA extracted either directly (5 g heart or foreleg muscle, DE) or after acid pepsin digestion (50 g heart, PD) or enriched by magnetic capture (50 g heart, MC) was examined by real-time PCR (qPCR). ELISA revealed seroprevalences of 20% in wild boar (Sus scrofa), 11% in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and 6% in red deer (Cervus elaphus). T. gondii DNA was detected by at least one direct detection method in 12% of wild boar, 6% of roe deer, 2% of fallow deer (Dama dama) and 2% of red deer. In both, positive wild boar and roe deer, T. gondii type II specific alleles were the most prevalent, as assessed by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. The highest proportion of positive animals was detected by MC qPCR, followed by PD qPCR with a similar proportion of positive findings. Investigation of 50 g of heart muscle revealed a significantly higher proportion of positive qPCR results than analysis of 5 g (p = 0.048). An association between seropositivity and direct detection was evident in wild boar and roe deer (p < 0.001). Infectivity of T. gondii DNA–positive samples was confirmed by bioassay (4/4), providing evidence that game could represent a relevant source of viable T. gondii posing a risk for human infection. Full article
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11 pages, 1268 KiB  
Article
Real-Time PCR for Molecular Detection of Zoonotic and Non-Zoonotic Giardia spp. in Wild Rodents
Microorganisms 2021, 9(8), 1610; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081610 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2630
Abstract
Giardiasis in humans is a gastrointestinal disease transmitted by the potentially zoonotic Giardia duodenalis genotypes (assemblages) A and B. Small wild rodents such as mice and voles are discussed as potential reservoirs for G. duodenalis but are predominantly populated by the two rodent [...] Read more.
Giardiasis in humans is a gastrointestinal disease transmitted by the potentially zoonotic Giardia duodenalis genotypes (assemblages) A and B. Small wild rodents such as mice and voles are discussed as potential reservoirs for G. duodenalis but are predominantly populated by the two rodent species Giardia microti and Giardia muris. Currently, the detection of zoonotic and non-zoonotic Giardia species and genotypes in these animals relies on cumbersome PCR and sequencing approaches of genetic marker genes. This hampers the risk assessment of potential zoonotic Giardia transmissions by these animals. Here, we provide a workflow based on newly developed real-time PCR schemes targeting the small ribosomal RNA multi-copy gene locus to distinguish G. muris, G. microti and G. duodenalis infections. For the identification of potentially zoonotic G. duodenalis assemblage types A and B, an established protocol targeting the single-copy gene 4E1-HP was used. The assays were specific for the distinct Giardia species or genotypes and revealed an analytical sensitivity of approximately one or below genome equivalent for the multi-copy gene and of about 10 genome equivalents for the single-copy gene. Retesting a biobank of small rodent samples confirmed the specificity. It further identified the underlying Giardia species in four out of 11 samples that could not be typed before by PCR and sequencing. The newly developed workflow has the potential to facilitate the detection of potentially zoonotic and non-zoonotic Giardia species in wild rodents. Full article
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10 pages, 661 KiB  
Article
Invasive Species as Hosts of Zoonotic Infections: The Case of American Mink (Neovison vison) and Leishmania infantum
Microorganisms 2021, 9(7), 1531; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9071531 - 18 Jul 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2306
Abstract
Leishmania infantum produces an endemic disease in the Mediterranean Basin that affects humans and domestic and wild mammals, which can act as reservoir or minor host. In this study, we analyzed the presence of the parasite in wild American minks, an invasive species [...] Read more.
Leishmania infantum produces an endemic disease in the Mediterranean Basin that affects humans and domestic and wild mammals, which can act as reservoir or minor host. In this study, we analyzed the presence of the parasite in wild American minks, an invasive species in Spain. We screened for L. infantum DNA by PCR using five primer pairs: Two targeting kinetoplast DNA (kDNA), and the rest targeting the ITS1 region, the small subunit of ribosomal RNA (SSU) and a repetitive sequence (Repeat region). The detection limit was determined for each method using a strain of L. infantum and a bone marrow sample from an infected dog. PCR approaches employing the Repeat region and kDNA (RV1/RV2 primers) showed higher sensitivity than the other PCR methods when control samples were employed. However, only PCR of the Repeat region and nested PCR of SSU (LnSSU) detected the parasite in the samples, while the other three were unable to do so. The majority of the analyzed animals (90.1%) tested positive. American mink may act as an incidental host of the disease for other mammals and should be further investigated, not only for their negative impact on the local fauna, but also as carriers of zoonotic diseases. Full article
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15 pages, 3028 KiB  
Article
Wide Genetic Diversity of Blastocystis in White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from Maryland, USA
Microorganisms 2021, 9(6), 1343; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9061343 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 53 | Viewed by 2893
Abstract
Blastocystis is a gastrointestinal protist frequently reported in humans and animals worldwide. Wildlife populations, including deer, may serve as reservoirs of parasitic diseases for both humans and domestic animals, either through direct contact or through contamination of food or water resources. However, no [...] Read more.
Blastocystis is a gastrointestinal protist frequently reported in humans and animals worldwide. Wildlife populations, including deer, may serve as reservoirs of parasitic diseases for both humans and domestic animals, either through direct contact or through contamination of food or water resources. However, no studies of the occurrence and subtype distribution of Blastocystis in wildlife populations have been conducted in the United States. PCR and next generation amplicon sequencing were used to determine the occurrence and subtypes of Blastocystis in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Blastocystis was common, with 88.8% (71/80) of samples found to be positive. Twelve subtypes were identified, ten previously reported (ST1, ST3, ST4, ST10, ST14, ST21, and ST23–ST26) and two novel subtypes (ST30 and ST31). To confirm the validity of ST30 and ST31, MinION sequencing was used to obtain full-length SSU rRNA gene sequences, and phylogenetic and pairwise distance analyses were performed. ST10, ST14, and ST24 were the most commonly observed subtypes. Potentially zoonotic subtypes ST1, ST3, or ST4 were present in 8.5% of Blastocystis-positives. Mixed subtype infections were common (90.1% of Blastocystis-positives). This study is the first to subtype Blastocystis in white-tailed deer. White-tailed deer were found to be commonly infected/colonized with a wide diversity of subtypes, including two novel subtypes, zoonotic subtypes, and subtypes frequently reported in domestic animals. More studies in wildlife are needed to better understand their role in the transmission of Blastocystis. Full article
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8 pages, 939 KiB  
Communication
First Report of Echinococcus ortleppi in Free-Living Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) from Portugal
Microorganisms 2021, 9(6), 1256; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9061256 - 09 Jun 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2192
Abstract
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a zoonosis that is prevalent worldwide. It is considered endemic in Portugal but few studies have been performed on Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato and their hosts. In this study, CE cysts are reported for the first time in a [...] Read more.
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a zoonosis that is prevalent worldwide. It is considered endemic in Portugal but few studies have been performed on Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato and their hosts. In this study, CE cysts are reported for the first time in a free-living wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Portugal. The presence of the metacestodes in the liver of the wild boar was identified by morphological features, microscopic examination and molecular analysis. The sequencing of part of the DNA nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer-1 (ITS-1) region revealed a G5 genotype that presently corresponds to Echinococcus ortleppi. This is the first report of E. ortleppi in Portugal and to the best of the authors’ knowledge, in Europe. These results suggest that wild boar may be a host of CE, namely, crossing the livestock–wildlife interface, which has important public health implications. Wildlife reservoirs must be taken into account as CE hosts and surveillance of game as well as health education for hunters should be implemented using a One Health approach, with implementation of feasible and tailor-made control strategies, namely, proper elimination of byproducts in the field. Full article
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35 pages, 6445 KiB  
Article
Metagenomics Analysis Reveals an Extraordinary Inner Bacterial Diversity in Anisakids (Nematoda: Anisakidae) L3 Larvae
Microorganisms 2021, 9(5), 1088; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9051088 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3318
Abstract
L3 larvae of anisakid nematodes are an important problem for the fisheries industry and pose a potential risk for human health by acting as infectious agents causing allergies and as potential vectors of pathogens and microrganisms. In spite of the close bacteria–nematode relationship [...] Read more.
L3 larvae of anisakid nematodes are an important problem for the fisheries industry and pose a potential risk for human health by acting as infectious agents causing allergies and as potential vectors of pathogens and microrganisms. In spite of the close bacteria–nematode relationship very little is known of the anisakids microbiota. Fresh fish could be contaminated by bacteria vectored in the cuticle or in the intestine of anisakids when the L3 larvae migrate through the muscles. As a consequence, the bacterial inoculum will be spread, with potential effects on the quality of the fish, and possible clinical effects cannot be discarded. A total of 2,689,113 16S rRNA gene sequences from a total of 113 L3 individuals obtained from fish captured along the FAO 27 fishing area were studied. Bacteria were taxonomically characterized through 1803 representative operational taxonomic units (OTUs) sequences. Fourteen phyla, 31 classes, 52 orders, 129 families and 187 genera were unambiguously identified. We have found as part of microbiome an average of 123 OTUs per L3 individual. Diversity indices (Shannon and Simpson) indicate an extraordinary diversity of bacteria at an OTU level. There are clusters of anisakids individuals (samples) defined by the associated bacteria which, however, are not significantly related to fish hosts or anisakid taxa. This suggests that association or relationship among bacteria in anisakids, exists without the influence of fishes or nematodes. The lack of relationships with hosts of anisakids taxa has to be expressed by the association among bacterial OTUs or other taxonomical levels which range from OTUs to the phylum level. There are significant biological structural associations of microbiota in anisakid nematodes which manifest in clusters of bacteria ranging from phylum to genus level, which could also be an indicator of fish contamination or the geographic zone of fish capture. Actinobacteria, Aquificae, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria are the phyla whose abundance value discriminate for defining such structures. Full article
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13 pages, 2296 KiB  
Article
Diverse Genotypes and Species of Cryptosporidium in Wild Rodent Species from the West Coast of the USA and Implications for Raw Produce Safety and Microbial Water Quality
Microorganisms 2021, 9(4), 867; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040867 - 17 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1563
Abstract
Cryptosporidium spp. are protozoan parasites that infect perhaps all vertebrate animals, with a subset of species and genotypes that function as food- and waterborne pathogens. The objective of this work was to collate the Cryptosporidium species and genotypes from common wild rodents on [...] Read more.
Cryptosporidium spp. are protozoan parasites that infect perhaps all vertebrate animals, with a subset of species and genotypes that function as food- and waterborne pathogens. The objective of this work was to collate the Cryptosporidium species and genotypes from common wild rodents on the west coast of the USA and update the information regarding the zoonotic potential of Cryptosporidium from these ubiquitous wild species. Representative sequences of the 18S rRNA gene for a unique set of Cryptosporidium isolates obtained from deer mice, house mice, mountain beavers, yellow-bellied marmot, long-tailed vole, California ground squirrels, Belding’s ground squirrels, and a golden-mantled ground squirrel in GenBank were selected for phylogenetic analysis. Phylogenetic and BLAST analysis indicated that 4 (18%) of the 22 unique Cryptosporidium sequences from these wild rodent species were 99.75% to 100% identical to known zoonotic species (C. parvum, C. ubiquitum, C. xiaoi), suggesting that a minority of these representative Cryptosporidium isolates could have a public health impact through food and waterborne routes of human exposure. These zoonotic isolates were shed by deer mice and a yellow-bellied marmot from California, and from a mountain beaver trapped in Oregon. In addition, the group of unique Cryptosporidium isolates from deer mice and ground dwelling squirrels exhibited considerable DNA diversity, with multiple isolates appearing to be either host-limited or distributed throughout the various clades within the phylogenetic tree representing the various Cryptosporidium species from host mammals. These results indicate that only a subset of the unique Cryptosporidium genotypes and species obtained from wild rodents on the US west coast are of public health concern; nevertheless, given the geographic ubiquity of many of these host species and often high density at critical locations like municipal watersheds or produce production fields, prudent pest control practices are warranted to minimize the risks of water- and foodborne transmission to humans. Full article
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10 pages, 275 KiB  
Article
Molecular Survey on Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum Infection in Wild Birds of Prey Admitted to Recovery Centers in Northern Italy
Microorganisms 2021, 9(4), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040736 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1916
Abstract
Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum (Apicomplexa, Sarcocystidae) are protozoan parasites infecting a wide range of intermediate hosts worldwide, including birds. Raptors acquire the infections through the ingestion of both infected preys and oocysts in the environment suggesting they might be used as indicators [...] Read more.
Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum (Apicomplexa, Sarcocystidae) are protozoan parasites infecting a wide range of intermediate hosts worldwide, including birds. Raptors acquire the infections through the ingestion of both infected preys and oocysts in the environment suggesting they might be used as indicators of the spread of these pathogens. Here, we report an epidemiological survey with the aim of determining the prevalence of T. gondii and N. caninum infections in wild birds of prey, hospitalized in two Wildlife Recovery Centres (WRCs) in Northern Italy. Genomic DNA extracted from brain tissue samples was submitted to Real Time PCR targeting T. gondii B1 and N. caninum Nc5 genes. T. gondii genotyping was then performed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) analysis, targeting three polymorphic genes (GRA6, BTUB, and altSAG2). T. gondii DNA was found in 35 (62.5%) out of 56 examined samples; concerning genotyping, it was possible to amplify at least one gene for 26 animals, and obtained sequences belonged to Type II. N. caninum DNA was only detected in two (3.6%) common kestrels (Falco tinnunculus), adding a new species to the list of suitable intermediate hosts for this pathogen. Data obtained in the present study thus confirmed the spread of both T. gondiiand N. caninum in wild bird of prey, endorsing the role of WRCs in the epidemiological surveillance of wildlife. Full article
7 pages, 2971 KiB  
Communication
PCR Detection of Toxoplasma gondii in European Wild Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) from Portugal
Microorganisms 2020, 8(12), 1926; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8121926 - 04 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2016
Abstract
Wildlife plays an important role in the epidemiological cycle of Toxoplasma gondii. The European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) can be a source of infection to wild and domestic hosts, including human beings. Additionally, as an herbivorous animal, the European wild [...] Read more.
Wildlife plays an important role in the epidemiological cycle of Toxoplasma gondii. The European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) can be a source of infection to wild and domestic hosts, including human beings. Additionally, as an herbivorous animal, the European wild rabbit may also be a sentinel of environmental contamination with T. gondii and, consequently, an indicator of the potential transmission of this parasite. The purpose of the present work was to detect T. gondii DNA in European wild rabbit from central Portugal, as well as the possible implications for public health. Heart and diaphragm samples were obtained from 28 rabbits hunted in central Portugal. Nested PCR separately amplified the 5′ and 3′ ends of the surface antigen 2 (SAG2) gene. T. gondii DNA was detected in 19 out of the 28 sampled animals, resulting in a prevalence of 67.9%. These results show that T. gondii infection occurs in European wild rabbit and therefore may pose a potential risk for humans if consumed as raw or undercooked meat. Measures should be taken in order to prevent infection by this zoonotic parasite and for the conservation of wildlife. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study performed by means of PCR on T. gondii in European wild rabbit meat samples. Full article
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Review

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44 pages, 1426 KiB  
Review
A Systematic Review (1990–2021) of Wild Animals Infected with Zoonotic Leishmania
Microorganisms 2021, 9(5), 1101; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9051101 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 4423
Abstract
Leishmaniasis are neglected diseases caused by several species of Leishmania that affect humans and many domestic and wild animals with a worldwide distribution. The objectives of this review are to identify wild animals naturally infected with zoonotic Leishmania species as well as the [...] Read more.
Leishmaniasis are neglected diseases caused by several species of Leishmania that affect humans and many domestic and wild animals with a worldwide distribution. The objectives of this review are to identify wild animals naturally infected with zoonotic Leishmania species as well as the organs infected, methods employed for detection and percentage of infection. A literature search starting from 1990 was performed following the PRISMA methodology and 161 reports were included. One hundred and eighty-nine species from ten orders (i.e., Carnivora, Chiroptera, Cingulata, Didelphimorphia, Diprotodontia, Lagomorpha, Eulipotyphla, Pilosa, Primates and Rodentia) were reported to be infected, and a few animals were classified only at the genus level. An exhaustive list of species; diagnostic techniques, including PCR targets; infected organs; number of animals explored and percentage of positives are presented. L. infantum infection was described in 98 wild species and L. (Viania) spp. in 52 wild animals, while L. mexicana, L. amazonensis, L. major and L. tropica were described in fewer than 32 animals each. During the last decade, intense research revealed new hosts within Chiroptera and Lagomorpha. Carnivores and rodents were the most relevant hosts for L. infantum and L. (Viannia) spp., with some species showing lesions, although in most of the studies clinical signs were not reported. Full article
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12 pages, 327 KiB  
Review
Epidemiological and Public Health Significance of Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Wild Rabbits and Hares: 2010–2020
Microorganisms 2021, 9(3), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9030597 - 14 Mar 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2897
Abstract
Toxoplasmosis is a zoonosis of global distribution, and Toxoplasma gondii infections are common in humans and animals worldwide. Hares and rabbits are important small game species, and their meat is consumed by humans in many countries. Demand for rabbit meat for human consumption [...] Read more.
Toxoplasmosis is a zoonosis of global distribution, and Toxoplasma gondii infections are common in humans and animals worldwide. Hares and rabbits are important small game species, and their meat is consumed by humans in many countries. Demand for rabbit meat for human consumption is increasing; therefore, toxoplasmosis in rabbits and hares is of epidemiological significance. Viable T. gondii has been isolated from rabbits. The present review summarizes worldwide information on the seroprevalence, parasitological investigations, clinical cases, isolation, and genetic diversity of T. gondii in wild rabbits, free domestic rabbits, hares, and other rabbits from 2010 to 2020. Differences in prevalence, susceptibility, genetic variants, and clinical implications of T. gondii infection in rabbits and hares are discussed. This review will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, veterinarians, and public health workers. Additional studies are needed to increase our knowledge of genetic variants and the population structure of T. gondii in rabbits and hares and to understand the differences in susceptibility to T. gondii in hares in different areas. Full article
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