Publications by authors named "Stacey A Elmore"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Evidence of Arctic Fox Survival following Exposure to Rabies Virus.

J Wildl Dis 2021 Nov 23. Epub 2021 Nov 23.

US Department of Agriculture, National Wildlife Research Center, 4101 Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins, Colorado 80521, USA.

The arctic fox variant of the rabies virus (RABV) is enzootic in the circumpolar north. Reports of abortive RABV exposures motivated a retrospective analysis of sera from 41 arctic foxes captured at Karrak Lake in Nunavut, Canada, during 2011-2015. Estimated RABV antibody prevalence among foxes was 14% (95% confidence interval, 7-28%).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/JWD-D-21-00071DOI Listing
November 2021

TRANSMISSION DYNAMICS OF IN ARCTIC FOXES (): A LONG-TERM MARK-RECAPTURE SEROLOGIC STUDY AT KARRAK LAKE, NUNAVUT, CANADA.

J Wildl Dis 2019 07 28;55(3):619-626. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

1 Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5B4, Canada.

Transmission dynamics of , a parasite of importance for wildlife and human health, are enigmatic in the Arctic tundra, where free-ranging wild and domestic felid definitive hosts are absent and rarely observed, respectively. Through a multiyear mark-recapture study (2011-17), serosurveillance was conducted to investigate transmission of in Arctic foxes () in the Karrak Lake region, Nunavut, Canada. Sera from adult foxes and fox pups were tested for antibodies to by using serologic methods, including the indirect fluorescent antibody test, direct agglutination test, and modified agglutination test. The overall seroprevalence was 39% in adults and 17% in pups. Mature foxes were more likely to be exposed (seroconvert) than young foxes (less than 1 yr old), with the highest level of seroprevalence in midaged foxes (2-4 yr old). Pups in two different litters were seropositive on emergence from the den, around 5 wk old, which could have been due to passive transfer of maternal antibody or vertical transmission of from mother to offspring. The seropositive pups were born of seropositive mothers that were also seropositive the year before they gave birth, suggesting that vertical transmission might not be limited to litters from mothers exposed to for the first time in pregnancy. All recaptured seropositive foxes remained seropositive on subsequent captures, suggesting that antibodies persist or foxes are constantly reexposed or a combination of both. The results of this study provided insights into how foxes were likely exposed to , the dynamics of antibody persistence and immune response, and how the parasite was maintained in a terrestrial Arctic ecosystem in the absence of felid definitive hosts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/2018-06-144DOI Listing
July 2019

Management and modeling approaches for controlling raccoon rabies: The road to elimination.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2017 03 16;11(3):e0005249. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

United States Department of Agriculture, National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America.

Rabies is an ancient viral disease that significantly impacts human and animal health throughout the world. In the developing parts of the world, dog bites represent the highest risk of rabies infection to people, livestock, and other animals. However, in North America, where several rabies virus variants currently circulate in wildlife, human contact with the raccoon rabies variant leads to the highest per capita population administration of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) annually. Previous rabies variant elimination in raccoons (Canada), foxes (Europe), and dogs and coyotes (United States) demonstrates that elimination of the raccoon variant from the eastern US is feasible, given an understanding of rabies control costs and benefits and the availability of proper tools. Also critical is a cooperatively produced strategic plan that emphasizes collaborative rabies management among agencies and organizations at the landscape scale. Common management strategies, alone or as part of an integrated approach, include the following: oral rabies vaccination (ORV), trap-vaccinate-release (TVR), and local population reduction. As a complement, mathematical and statistical modeling approaches can guide intervention planning, such as through contact networks, circuit theory, individual-based modeling, and others, which can be used to better understand and predict rabies dynamics through simulated interactions among the host, virus, environment, and control strategy. Strategies derived from this ecological lens can then be optimized to produce a management plan that balances the ecological needs and program financial resources. This paper discusses the management and modeling strategies that are currently used, or have been used in the past, and provides a platform of options for consideration while developing raccoon rabies virus elimination strategies in the US.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0005249DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5354248PMC
March 2017

Multi-scale occupancy approach to estimate Toxoplasma gondii prevalence and detection probability in tissues: an application and guide for field sampling.

Int J Parasitol 2016 08 4;46(9):563-70. Epub 2016 May 4.

Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5B4, Canada.

Increasingly, birds are recognised as important hosts for the ubiquitous parasite Toxoplasma gondii, although little experimental evidence exists to determine which tissues should be tested to maximise the detection probability of T. gondii. Also, Arctic-nesting geese are suspected to be important sources of T. gondii in terrestrial Arctic ecosystems, but the parasite has not previously been reported in the tissues of these geese. Using a domestic goose model, we applied a multi-scale occupancy framework to demonstrate that the probability of detection of T. gondii was highest in the brain (0.689, 95% confidence interval=0.486, 0.839) and the heart (0.809, 95% confidence interval=0.693, 0.888). Inoculated geese had an estimated T. gondii infection probability of 0.849, (95% confidence interval=0.643, 0.946), highlighting uncertainty in the system, even under experimental conditions. Guided by these results, we tested the brains and hearts of wild Ross's Geese (Chen rossii, n=50) and Lesser Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens, n=50) from Karrak Lake, Nunavut, Canada. We detected 51 suspected positive tissue samples from 33 wild geese using real-time PCR with melt-curve analysis. The wild goose prevalence estimates generated by our multi-scale occupancy analysis were higher than the naïve estimates of prevalence, indicating that multiple PCR repetitions on the same organs and testing more than one organ could improve T. gondii detection. Genetic characterisation revealed Type III T. gondii alleles in six wild geese and Sarcocystis spp. in 25 samples. Our study demonstrates that Arctic nesting geese are capable of harbouring T. gondii in their tissues and could transport the parasite from their southern overwintering grounds into the Arctic region. We demonstrate how a multi-scale occupancy framework can be used in a domestic animal model to guide resource-limited sample collection and tissue analysis in wildlife. Secondly, we confirm the value of traditional occupancy in optimising T. gondii detection probability in tissue samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2016.04.003DOI Listing
August 2016

ESTIMATING TOXOPLASMA GONDII EXPOSURE IN ARCTIC FOXES (VULPES LAGOPUS) WHILE NAVIGATING THE IMPERFECT WORLD OF WILDLIFE SEROLOGY.

J Wildl Dis 2016 Jan;52(1):47-56

1  University of Saskatchewan, Department of Veterinary Microbiology, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5B4, Canada.

Although the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is ubiquitous in birds and mammals worldwide, the full suite of hosts and transmission routes is not completely understood, especially in the Arctic. Toxoplasma gondii occurrence in humans and wildlife can be high in Arctic regions, despite apparently limited opportunities for transmission of oocysts shed by felid definitive hosts. Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) are under increasing anthropogenic and ecologic pressure, leading to population declines in parts of their range. Our understanding of T. gondii occurrence in arctic foxes is limited to only a few regions, but mortality events caused by this parasite have been reported. We investigated the exposure of arctic foxes to T. gondii in the Karrak Lake goose colony, Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Nunavut, Canada. Following an occupancy-modeling framework, we performed replicated antibody testing on serum samples by direct agglutination test (DAT), indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT), and an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that can be used in multiple mammalian host species. As a metric of test performance, we then estimated the probability of detecting T. gondii antibodies for each of the tests. Occupancy estimates for T. gondii antibodies in arctic foxes under this framework were between 0.430 and 0.758. Detection probability was highest for IFAT (0.716) and lower for DAT (0.611) and ELISA (0.464), indicating that the test of choice for antibody detection in arctic foxes might be the IFAT. We document a new geographic record of T. gondii exposure in arctic foxes and demonstrate an emerging application of ecologic modeling techniques to account for imperfect performance of diagnostic tests in wildlife species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/2015-03-075DOI Listing
January 2016

Vector-borne pathogens in arctic foxes, Vulpes lagopus, from Canada.

Res Vet Sci 2015 Apr 16;99:58-9. Epub 2014 Dec 16.

Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory (IPRL), Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, NC, USA. Electronic address:

Because of the relatively low biodiversity within arctic ecosystems, arctic foxes, Vulpes lagopus, could serve as sentinels for the study of changes in the ecology of vector-borne zoonotic pathogens. The objective of this study was to determine the molecular prevalence of 5 different genera of vector borne pathogens (Anaplasma, Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, and Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp.) using blood collected from 28 live-trapped arctic foxes from the region of Karrak Lake, Nunavut, Canada. Bartonella henselae (n = 3), Mycoplasma haemocanis (n = 1), Ehrlichia canis (n = 1), and an Anaplasma sp. (n = 1) DNA were PCR amplified and subsequently identified by sequencing. This study provides preliminary evidence that vector borne pathogens, not typically associated with the arctic ecosystem, exist at low levels in this arctic fox population, and that vector exposure, pathogen transmission dynamics, and changes in the geographic distribution of pathogens over time should be investigated in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2014.12.011DOI Listing
April 2015

Toxoplasma gondii exposure in arctic-nesting geese: A multi-state occupancy framework and comparison of serological assays.

Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl 2014 Aug 30;3(2):147-53. Epub 2014 Jun 30.

Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N5B4, Canada.

The zoonotic parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, has a worldwide distribution and a cosmopolitan suite of hosts. In arctic tundra regions, the definitive felid hosts are rare to absent and, while the complete transmission routes in such regions have yet to be fully elucidated, trophic and vertical routes are likely to be important. Wild birds are common intermediate hosts of T. gondii, and in the central Canadian arctic, geese are probable vectors of the parasite from temperate latitudes to the arctic regions. Our objective was to estimate seroprevalence of T. gondii in Ross's and Lesser Snow Geese from the Karrak Lake ecosystem in Nunavut, Canada. After harvesting geese by shotgun, we collected blood on filter paper strips and tested the eluate for T. gondii antibodies by indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) and direct agglutination test (DAT). We estimated seroprevalence using a multi-state occupancy model, which reduced bias by accounting for imperfect detection, and compared these estimates to a naïve estimator. Ross's Geese had a 0.39 probability of seropositivity, while for Lesser Snow Geese the probability of positive for T. gondii antibodies was 0.36. IFAT had a higher antibody detection probability than DAT, but IFAT also had a higher probability of yielding ambiguous or unclassifiable results. The results of this study indicate that Ross's Geese and Lesser Snow Geese migrating to the Karrak Lake region of Nunavut are routinely exposed to T. gondii at some point in their lives and that they are likely intermediate hosts of the parasite. Also, we were able to enhance our estimation of T. gondii seroprevalence by using an occupancy approach that accounted for both false-negative and false-positive detections and by using multiple diagnostic tests in the absence of a gold standard serological assay for wild geese.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2014.05.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4142267PMC
August 2014

People, pets, and parasites: one health surveillance in southeastern Saskatchewan.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2014 Jun 17;90(6):1184-90. Epub 2014 Mar 17.

Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada; National Reference Centre for Parasitology, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, Canada.

Residents of remote and Indigenous communities might experience higher exposure to some zoonotic parasites than the general North American population. Human sero-surveillance conducted in two Saulteaux communities found 113 volunteers exposed as follows: Trichinella (2.7%), Toxocara canis (4.4%), Echinococcus (4.4%), and Toxoplasma gondii (1.8%). In dogs, 41% of 51 fecal samples were positive for at least one intestinal parasite, 3% of 77 were sero-positive for Borrelia burgdorferi, and 21% of 78 for T. gondii. Echinococcus exposure was more likely to occur in non-dog owners (odds ratio [OR]: 11.4, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.2-107, P = 0.03); while T. canis was more likely to occur in children (ages 4-17) (OR: 49, 95% CI: 3.9-624; P = 0.003), and those with a history of dog bites (OR: 13.5, 95% CI: 1.02-179; P = 0.048). Our results emphasize the use of dogs as sentinels for emerging pathogens such as Lyme disease, and the need for targeted surveillance and intervention programs tailored for parasite species, cultural groups, and communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.13-0749DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4047752PMC
June 2014

Endoparasites in the feces of arctic foxes in a terrestrial ecosystem in Canada.

Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl 2013 Dec 14;2:90-6. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5B4.

The parasites of arctic foxes in the central Canadian Arctic have not been well described. Canada's central Arctic is undergoing dramatic environmental change, which is predicted to cause shifts in parasite and wildlife species distributions, and trophic interactions, requiring that baselines be established to monitor future alterations. This study used conventional, immunological, and molecular fecal analysis techniques to survey the current gastrointestinal endoparasite fauna currently present in arctic foxes in central Nunavut, Canada. Ninety-five arctic fox fecal samples were collected from the terrestrial Karrak Lake ecosystem within the Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Samples were examined by fecal flotation to detect helminths and protozoa, immunofluorescent assay (IFA) to detect Cryptosporidium and Giardia, and quantitative PCR with melt-curve analysis (qPCR-MCA) to detect coccidia. Positive qPCR-MCA products were sequenced and analyzed phylogenetically. Arctic foxes from Karrak Lake were routinely shedding eggs from Toxascaris leonina (63%). Taeniid (15%), Capillarid (1%), and hookworm eggs (2%), Sarcocystis sp. sporocysts 3%), and Eimeria sp. (6%), and Cystoisospora sp. (5%) oocysts were present at a lower prevalence on fecal flotation. Cryptosporidium sp. (9%) and Giardia sp. (16%) were detected by IFA. PCR analysis detected Sarcocystis (15%), Cystoisospora (5%), Eimeria sp., and either Neospora sp. or Hammondia sp. (1%). Through molecular techniques and phylogenetic analysis, we identified two distinct lineages of Sarcocystis sp. present in arctic foxes, which probably derived from cervid and avian intermediate hosts. Additionally, we detected previously undescribed genotypes of Cystoisospora. Our survey of gastrointestinal endoparasites in arctic foxes from the central Canadian Arctic provides a unique record against which future comparisons can be made.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2013.02.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3862500PMC
December 2013

Parasitic zoonoses: one health surveillance in northern Saskatchewan.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2013 21;7(3):e2141. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

We report the results of a joint human-animal health investigation in a Dene community in northern Saskatchewan, where residents harvest wildlife (including moose, bear, elk, and fish), live in close contact with free roaming dogs, and lack access to permanent veterinary services. Fecal analysis of owned and free-roaming dogs over two consecutive years (N = 92, 103) identified several parasites of public health concern, including Toxocara canis, Diphyllobothrium spp., Echinococcus/Taenia, Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. Administration of pyrantel pamoate to a subset of dogs (N = 122) in the community in the first year was followed by reduced shedding of T. canis and other roundworms in the second year, demonstrating the potential utility of canine de-worming as a public health intervention. Using direct agglutination tests with confirmatory indirect fluorescent antibody test, 21% of 47 dogs were sero-positive for exposure to Toxoplasma gondii. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) sero-prevalence rates in 201 human volunteers were as follows: Toxoplasma gondii (14%), Echinococcus granulosus (48%), Toxocara canis (13%) and Trichinella spp. (16%). Overall 65% of participants were sero-positive for at least one parasite. A survey administered to volunteers indicated few associations between widely accepted risk factors for parasite exposure and serological status, emphasizing the importance of environmental transmission of these parasites through soil, food, and waterborne routes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0002141DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3605296PMC
August 2013

Tradition and transition: parasitic zoonoses of people and animals in Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland.

Adv Parasitol 2013 ;82:33-204

Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada.

Zoonotic parasites are important causes of endemic and emerging human disease in northern North America and Greenland (the North), where prevalence of some parasites is higher than in the general North American population. The North today is in transition, facing increased resource extraction, globalisation of trade and travel, and rapid and accelerating environmental change. This comprehensive review addresses the diversity, distribution, ecology, epidemiology, and significance of nine zoonotic parasites in animal and human populations in the North. Based on a qualitative risk assessment with criteria heavily weighted for human health, these zoonotic parasites are ranked, in the order of decreasing importance, as follows: Echinococcus multilocularis, Toxoplasma gondii, Trichinella and Giardia, Echinococcus granulosus/canadensis and Cryptosporidium, Toxocara, anisakid nematodes, and diphyllobothriid cestodes. Recent and future trends in the importance of these parasites for human health in the North are explored. For example, the incidence of human exposure to endemic helminth zoonoses (e.g. Diphyllobothrium, Trichinella, and Echinococcus) appears to be declining, while water-borne protozoans such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Toxoplasma may be emerging causes of human disease in a warming North. Parasites that undergo temperature-dependent development in the environment (such as Toxoplasma, ascarid and anisakid nematodes, and diphyllobothriid cestodes) will likely undergo accelerated development in endemic areas and temperate-adapted strains/species will move north, resulting in faunal shifts. Food-borne pathogens (e.g. Trichinella, Toxoplasma, anisakid nematodes, and diphyllobothriid cestodes) may be increasingly important as animal products are exported from the North and tourists, workers, and domestic animals enter the North. Finally, key needs are identified to better assess and mitigate risks associated with zoonotic parasites, including enhanced surveillance in animals and people, detection methods, and delivery and evaluation of veterinary and public health services.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-407706-5.00002-2DOI Listing
September 2013

Toxoplasma gondii in circumpolar people and wildlife.

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 2012 Jan 13;12(1):1-9. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Despite extensive worldwide surveillance in populations of both people and wildlife, relatively little is known about Toxoplasma gondii ecology in the circumpolar north. Many northern animals and people demonstrate exposure to T. gondii, but the apparent low densities of domestic or wild felids suggest that additional transmission mechanisms are responsible for T. gondii persistence in high latitudes, whether remote source (from another region), vertical, or dietary. People in these northern communities who practice subsistence hunting might have an increased infection risk due to traditional food preparation techniques and frequent handling of wild game. Recent advances in T. gondii genotyping, understanding of host-parasite relationships, and increased human and wildlife surveillance will help to address knowledge gaps about parasite evolution, distribution, and abundance throughout the Arctic and Subarctic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2011.0705DOI Listing
January 2012

The role of European starlings in the spread of coccidia within concentrated animal feeding operations.

Vet Parasitol 2011 Aug 8;180(3-4):340-3. Epub 2011 Apr 8.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center, 4101 LaPorte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA.

To investigate the relationship between European starlings and bovine coccidiosis we collected samples from European starlings, cattle feed bunks, cattle water troughs, and cattle feces within concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These samples were screened for coccidia spp. to investigate (i) the prevalence of coccidia in starlings using CAFOs; (ii) if there is a relationship between bovine coccidiosis and starling numbers; (iii) if coccidia contamination of cattle feed and water is related to the number of starlings observed on CAFOs. Coccidia belonging to the genus Eimeria were detected in cattle feces and one water sample but no Eimeria spp. were detected in European starlings or cattle feed. However, many European starling samples were positive for Isospora. Starling use of CAFOs did not appear to be associated with coccidia spp. shedding by cattle and there was no correlation between starling numbers and contamination of cattle feed and water, suggesting that starling do not contribute to the amplification and spread of Eimeria in CAFOs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.03.050DOI Listing
August 2011

Toxoplasma gondii: epidemiology, feline clinical aspects, and prevention.

Trends Parasitol 2010 Apr 2;26(4):190-6. Epub 2010 Mar 2.

Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite of birds and mammals. Cats are the only definitive host and thus the only source of infective oocysts, but other mammals and birds can develop tissue cysts. Although feline infections are typically asymptomatic, infection during human pregnancy can cause severe disease in the fetus. Cat owners can reduce their pets' exposure risk by keeping all cats indoors and not feeding them raw meat. Humans usually become infected through ingestion of oocyst-contaminated soil and water, tissue cysts in undercooked meat, or congenitally. Because of their fastidious nature, the passing of non-infective oocysts, and the short duration of oocyst shedding, direct contact with cats is not thought to be a primary risk for human infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2010.01.009DOI Listing
April 2010

Influenza infection in wild raccoons.

Emerg Infect Dis 2008 Dec;14(12):1842-8

US Department of Agriculture, National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, Colorado 53711, USA.

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are common, widely distributed animals that frequently come into contact with wild waterfowl, agricultural operations, and humans. Serosurveys showed that raccoons are exposed to avian influenza virus. We found antibodies to a variety of influenza virus subtypes (H10N7, H4N6, H4N2, H3, and H1) with wide geographic variation in seroprevalence. Experimental infection studies showed that raccoons become infected with avian and human influenza A viruses, shed and transmit virus to virus-free animals, and seroconvert. Analyses of cellular receptors showed that raccoons have avian and human type receptors with a similar distribution as found in human respiratory tracts. The potential exists for co-infection of multiple subtypes of influenza virus with genetic reassortment and creation of novel strains of influenza virus. Experimental and field data indicate that raccoons may play an important role in influenza disease ecology and pose risks to agriculture and human health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1412.071371DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2634612PMC
December 2008
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