Serological survey of vector-borne zoonotic pathogens in pet cats and cats from animal shelters and feral colonies
ABSTRACT Although cats and their arthropod parasites can sometimes be important sources of zoonotic diseases in humans, the extent of exposure among various cat populations to many potential zoonotic agents remains incompletely described. In this study, 170 domestic cats living in private homes, feral cat colonies, and animal shelters from California and Wisconsin were evaluated by serology to determine the levels of exposure to a group of zoonotic vector-borne pathogens. Serological positive test results were observed in 17.2% of cats for Rickettsia rickettsii, 14.9% for R akari, 4.9% for R typhi, 11.1% for R felis, and 14.7% for Bartonella henselae. Although vector-borne disease exposure has been documented previously in cats, the evaluation of multiple pathogens and diverse cat populations simultaneously performed here contributes to our understanding of feline exposure to these zoonotic pathogens.
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ABSTRACT: Small mammals host diverse communities of parasites including fleas. There is considerable research interest in effects of parasites on their hosts. Host specificity, prevalence and intensity of infestation of fleas on small mammals were studied at selected sites in the city of Windhoek, Namibia from April to July 2005. Small mammals were live-trapped using Sherman traps and autopsied before collection of fleas. Fleas were processed using standard parasitological proce-dures and were mounted permanently onto slides using Canada balsam. Small mammal hosts and fleas were identified to species level. A total of sixty one (61) small mammals belonging to four rodent species, i.e. bushveld gerbil Gerbilliscus leucogaster, hairy-footed gerbil Gerbillu-rus paeba, black-tailed tree rat Thallomys nigricauda and the four-stripped mouse Rhabdomys pumilio and one insectivore, bushveld sengi Elephantulus intufi, were captured. One hundred and thirty six (136) fleas belonging to eight species, i.e. Xenopsylla brasiliensis, Xenopsylla cheopis, Xenopsylla hirsuta, Xenopsylla trispinis, Dinopsyllus ellobius, Dinopsyllus zuluensis, Epirimia aganipes and Listropsylla aricinae were collected from infested hosts. Dinopsyllus ellobius and X. trispinis and L. aricinae were host specific, being collected only from G. leucogaster and G. paeba, respectively. No fleas were collected from E. intifi and R. pumilio. The prevalence of fleas ranged from zero in E. entufi and R. pumilio through 50 % in T. nigricauda, 55.1% in G. leucogaster to 61.1% in G. paeba. High species richness of fleas was recorded in G. leucogaster (seven out of eight flea species) and in G. paeba (six out of eight flea species). The overall prevalence of fleas was higher in male (54.3%) than in female (34.6%) hosts. There was no association between the body mass of small mammal hosts and the intensity of flea infestation. The intensity of infestation of fleas did not vary significantly by host species and sex of hosts. .
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Sera collected from 442 mountain lions in 48 California counties between the years of 1987 and 2010 were tested using immunofluorescence assays and agglutination tests for the presence of antibodies reactive to Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, Bartonella henselae, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum antigens. Data were analyzed for spatial and temporal trends in seropositivity. Seroprevalences for B. burgdorferi (19.9%) and B. henselae (37.1%) were relatively high, with the highest exposure in the Central Coast region for B. henselae. B. henselae DNA amplified in mountain lion samples was genetically similar to human-derived Houston-1 and domestic cat-derived U4 B. henselae strains at the gltA and ftsZ loci. The statewide seroprevalences of Y. pestis (1.4%), F. tularensis (1.4%), and A. phagocytophilum (5.9%), were comparatively low. Sera from Y. pestis- and F. tularensis-seropositive mountain lions were primarily collected in the Eastern and Western Sierra Nevada, and samples reactive to Y. pestis antigen were collected exclusively from adult females. Adult age (≥2 years) was a risk factor for B. burgdorferi exposure. Over 70% of tested animals were killed on depredation permits, and therefore were active near areas with livestock and human residential communities. Surveillance of mountain lions for these bacterial vector-borne and zoonotic agents may be informative to public health authorities, and the data are useful for detecting enzootic and peridomestic pathogen transmission patterns, particularly in combination with molecular characterization of the infecting organisms.Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.) 08/2012; DOI:10.1089/vbz.2011.0858 · 2.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Free-roaming cat populations have been identified as a significant public health threat and are a source for several zoonotic diseases including rabies, toxoplasmosis, cutaneous larval migrans because of various nematode parasites, plague, tularemia and murine typhus. Several of these diseases are reported to cause mortality in humans and can cause other important health issues including abortion, blindness, pruritic skin rashes and other various symptoms. A recent case of rabies in a young girl from California that likely was transmitted by a free-roaming cat underscores that free-roaming cats can be a source of zoonotic diseases. Increased attention has been placed on trap-neuter-release (TNR) programmes as a viable tool to manage cat populations. However, some studies have shown that TNR leads to increased immigration of unneutered cats into neutered populations as well as increased kitten survival in neutered groups. These compensatory mechanisms in neutered groups leading to increased kitten survival and immigration would confound rabies vaccination campaigns and produce naïve populations of cats that can serve as source of zoonotic disease agents owing to lack of immunity. This manuscript is a review of the various diseases of free-roaming cats and the public health implications associated with the cat populations.Zoonoses and Public Health 07/2012; DOI:10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01522.x · 2.07 Impact Factor