1 National Reference Laboratory for Toxoplasmosis, Centre of Excellence for Food- and Vector-borne Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, University of Belgrade , Dr. Subotica 4, P.O. Box 102, 11129 Belgrade , Serbia.
Human trichinellosis and Trichinella infection in pigs are both still endemic in the Balkans, including Serbia. Because of the flow between the sylvatic and the domestic cycle of Trichinella spp., monitoring wildlife has been recommended for the risk assessment of Trichinella spp. infection in swine. We have previously shown the presence of Trichinella infection in wild carnivores including the wolf and the golden jackal, and here we report on Trichinella infection in several other mesocarnivore species. From a total of 469 animals collected between 1994 and 2013, Trichinella larvae were detected in 29 (6.2%, 95% CI = 4.0-8.4) animals, including 14 red foxes (4.7%), 7 wild cats (35%), 5 beech martens (4.8%), 2 pine martens (16.7%), and 1 European badger (6.25%). No Trichinella larvae were detected in the examined specimens of European polecats, steppe polecats and European otters. Species identification of the Trichinella larvae performed for 18 positive samples revealed T. spiralis in 77.8% and T. britovi in 22.2% of the isolates. Both species were detected in red foxes and wild cats. The predominance of T. spiralis in wildlife in Serbia indicates the (past or present) spillover of this pathogen from domestic to wild animals.
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