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Abstract

Mycoplasma haemocanis is prevalent in the endangered Darwin’s fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) in its main stronghold, Chiloé Island (Chile). The origin of the infection, its dynamics, its presence in other fox populations and the potential consequences for fox health remain unexplored. For 8 years, hemoplasmal DNA was screened and characterized in blood from 82 foxes in Chiloé and two other fox populations and in 250 free-ranging dogs from Chiloé. The prevalence of M. haemocanis in foxes was constant during the study years, and coinfection with “Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum” was confirmed in 30% of the foxes. Both hemoplasma species were detected in the two mainland fox populations and in Chiloé dogs. M. haemocanis was significantly more prevalent and more genetically diverse in foxes than in dogs. Two of the seven M. haemocanis haplotypes identified were shared between these species. Network analyses did not show genetic structure by species (foxes versus dogs), geographic (island versus mainland populations), or temporal (years of study) factors. The probability of infection with M. haemocanis increased with fox age but was not associated with sex, season, or degree of anthropization of individual fox habitats. Some foxes recaptured years apart were infected with the same haplotype in both events, and no hematological alterations were associated with hemoplasma infection, suggesting tolerance to the infection. Altogether, our results indicate that M. haemocanis is enzootic in the Darwin’s fox and that intraspecific transmission is predominant. Nevertheless, such a prevalent pathogen in a threatened species represents a concern that must be considered in conservation actions. IMPORTANCE Mycoplasma haemocanis is enzootic in Darwin’s foxes. There is a higher M. haemocanis genetic diversity and prevalence in foxes than in sympatric dogs, although haplotypes are shared between the two carnivore species. There is an apparent tolerance of Darwin’s foxes to Mycoplasma haemocanis.

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... Dogs are rarely confined by owners in rural areas [9], ranging freely across native and non-native habitats [3,6,7,10,11]. This promotes but not forces, the movement of foxes, and can be a source of fox morbidity and mortality due to contact with canine distemper virus and other dogs' diseases [2,12]. In addition, dogs with a poor diet provided by their owners can induce predatory behaviour on wild species [13]. ...
... Recent studies suggest foxes (generally) can have a synanthropic commensal relationship with humans, benefitting from human lifestyles without positively or negatively affecting people [26][27][28]. However, particularly in rural landscapes, the presence of human-subsidised carnivores, such as free-ranging dogs, is known to impose additional constraints on wild carnivores by overlapping their spatial and temporal habitat use [6,11,12]. This implied proximity in rural areas represents a significant risk to wild carnivores due to lethal (direct mortality or disease transmission) and non-lethal (habitat displacement) effects as a consequence of interaction with free-ranging dogs [29]. ...
... Hair samples (whole hair but without follicle) were collected from 25 adult Darwin's foxes captured in Chiloé Island (42°S, 74°W) ( Figure 1) between 2013 and 2017 (before the moulting period) with Tomahawk traps baited with chicken or canned fish (see detailed methodology in [12]). Foxes were tagged subcutaneously with a chip (Felixcan, Albacete, Spain) for identification. ...
Article
Darwin's fox is an opportunistic omnivorous predator native to Chile classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List. Habitat use by Darwin's foxes can be negatively affected by the presence of free-ranging dogs that range freely across native and non-native habitats and can be a source of fox mortality. The objective of this study was to analyze the isotopic similarity of Darwin's fox and sympatric free-ranging dogs in Chiloé Island to determine the impact of anthropogenic environmental alterations on wild predators. We use hair samples to characterize and compare their δ13C and δ15N values and to evaluate isotopic similarity and isotopic niches overlap. A Generalized Linear Model was used to associate the isotopic value with landscape variables (forest cover and vegetation type) and distance to the nearest house. We found no significant differences in δ13C or δ15N values between foxes and dogs, and a marginally significant isotopic niche overlap (59.4%). None of the selected variables at landscape and site scale were related to isotopic values. Although our study is not a probe of direct contact between foxes and free-ranging dogs, the high isotopic similarity highlights the risk pathogen spill over from free-ranging dogs to Darwin's foxes.
... There have been no records of pathologies or negative impacts of hemoplasma infection in wild deer populations; however, infection has been associated with lethargy and anemia of varying severities in captive cervids, particularly in farm-raised reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus; Stoffregen et al. 2006;Boes et al. 2012). Hemotropic mycoplasma infection has been reported in the last few years in a range of wild and domestic animals in Chile, including bats, carnivores, and rodents (Walker et al. 2016;Soto et al. 2017;Millán et al. 2019;Sacristán et al. 2019;Alabí et al. 2020;Di Cataldo et al. 2020). No study had investigated the presence of hemoplasmas in domestic or wild ruminants in Chile. ...
... However, even partial characterization was able to classify ntST-1 within the cluster of ungulate hosts. Di Cataldo et al. (2020) observed that short 16S rRNA sequences yielded similar phylogenetic results to complete 16S rRNA sequences for hemoplasmas. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the same conclusion for the ntST-2 and ntST-3, for which no complete 16S rRNA sequences were amplified. ...
... The finding that free-living individuals are infected by hemoplasmas more often than are their captive counterparts has been associated with more frequent exposure to arthropod vectors (Millán et al. 2021). In support of this, it should be noted that Ixodes sigelos, a tick species typically found on pudus, was recently reported on a Darwin's fox (Lycalopex fulvipes), a carnivore that is infected by CMhp and that shares the same habitat with pudus (Di Cataldo et al. 2020). ...
Article
Hemotropic mycoplasmas cause hemolytic anemia in a variety of wild and domestic mammals. Despite growing evidence about their widespread presence and genetic diversity in wildlife, their presence has never been investigated in Chilean artiodactyls. We aimed to describe the presence and diversity of hemoplasmas in pudus (Pudu puda), a small cervid native to Chile. Hemoplasma infection was assessed in blood samples from 43 wild and 33 captive pudus from central and southern Chile by direct sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. We detected hemoplasmas in 13%, with no statistical differences between wild (19%) and captive animals (6%). A sequence closely related to Mycoplasma ovis was present both in wild (14%) and captive (6%) pudus. Two previously undescribed sequences, classified in a clade including hemoplasmas from carnivores, were found in one wild pudu each. This study presents the first evidence of the presence of M. ovis-like organisms in Chile and of the susceptibility of pudus to infection with hemoplasmas. Further research is needed to understand the pathologic consequences of this pathogen for pudus, its effects at the population level, and their potential impact on the health small ruminants and other wildlife species in Chile.
... Information about the presence and distribution of these agents in Chile is scarce. DNA of both Mhc and CMhp have been reported in dogs from southern Chile [10,11]. Both agents have also been detected in a wild canid, the endangered Darwin's fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) [11,12]. ...
... DNA of both Mhc and CMhp have been reported in dogs from southern Chile [10,11]. Both agents have also been detected in a wild canid, the endangered Darwin's fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) [11,12]. In that study, Di Cataldo et al. [11] reported that Mhc was shared among dogs and foxes, but intraspecific transmission was predominant in the fox population. ...
... Both agents have also been detected in a wild canid, the endangered Darwin's fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) [11,12]. In that study, Di Cataldo et al. [11] reported that Mhc was shared among dogs and foxes, but intraspecific transmission was predominant in the fox population. ...
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Article
Blood samples of 626 rural dogs, 139 Andean foxes (Lycalopex culpaeus), and 83 South American grey foxes (L. griseus) from six bioregions of Chile spanning 3,000 km. were screened for Mycoplasma DNA by conventional PCR and sequencing. Risk factors of infection were inferred using GLMMs and genetic structure by network analyses. Overall, M. haemocanis/M. haemofelis (Mhc/Mhf) and Candidatus M. haematoparvum (CMhp) observed prevalence was 23.8% and 12.8% in dogs, 20.1% and 7.2% in Andean foxes, and 26.5% and 8.4% in grey foxes, respectively. Both hemoplasmas were confirmed in all the bioregions, with higher prevalence in those where Rhipicephalus sanguineus s.l. was absent. Candidatus M. haematominutum and a Mycoplasma previously found in South American carnivores were detected in one fox each. Although the most prevalent Mhc/Mhf and CMhp sequence types were shared between dogs and foxes, network analysis revealed genetic structure of Mhc/Mhf between hosts in some regions. Male gender was associated with a higher risk of Mhc/Mhf and CMhp infection in dogs, and adult age with CMhp infection, suggesting that direct transmission is relevant. No risk factor was identified in foxes. Our study provides novel information about canine hemoplasmas with relevance in distribution, transmission routes, and cross-species transmission.
... Although much research on haemoplasmas has traditionally concerned domestic animals, haemoplasmas have attracted the attention of wildlife disease specialists, especially during the last decade. Haemoplasma DNA has been detected in many wild species, showing in some cases remarkably high infection prevalence and 16S rRNA gene sequence diversity (e.g., Di Cataldo, Hidalgo-Hermoso, et al., 2020). Closely related haemoplasmas are often detected in multiple host species, suggesting haemoplasmas may not strictly be host specialists. ...
... Closely related haemoplasmas are often detected in multiple host species, suggesting haemoplasmas may not strictly be host specialists. The combination of high prevalence, genetic diversity and wide host range makes haemotropic mycoplasmas attractive for the broader study of intra-and interspecific pathogen transmission (e.g., Di Cataldo, Hidalgo-Hermoso, et al., 2020). Here, we quantitatively synthesize the literature to date to determine geographic and taxonomic patterns in haemoplasma infection and genetic diversity in wild hosts. ...
... In contrast, other researchers perceived this relationship as a facilitator of cross-species transmission from domestic cats and dogs to endangered carnivores (e.g. Di Cataldo, Hidalgo-Hermoso, et al., 2020;Sacristán et al., 2019). and Eurasian badgers (Meles meles) in Spain . ...
Article
Hemotropic mycoplasmas (hemoplasmas) have increasingly attracted the attention of wildlife disease researchers due to a combination of wide host range, high prevalence, and genetic diversity. A systematic review identified 75 articles that investigated hemoplasma infection in wildlife by molecular methods (chiefly targeting partial 16S rRNA gene sequences), which included 131 host genera across six orders. Studies were less common in the Eastern Hemisphere (especially Africa and Asia) and more frequent in the Artiodactyla and Carnivora. Meta-analysis showed that infection prevalence did not vary by geographic region nor host order, but wild hosts showed significantly higher prevalence than captive hosts. Using a taxonomically flexible machine learning algorithm, we also found vampire bats and cervids to have greater prevalence, whereas mink, a subclade of vesper bats, and true foxes all had lower prevalence compared to the remaining sampled mammal phylogeny. Hemoplasma genotype and nucleotide diversity varied little among wild mammals but were marginally lower in the Primates and Chiroptera. Coinfection with more than one hemoplasma species or genotype was always confirmed when assessed. Risk factors of infection identified were sociality, age, males, and high trophic levels, and both prevalence and diversity were often higher in undisturbed environments. Hemoplasmas likely use different and concurrent transmission routes and typically display enzootic dynamics when wild populations are studied longitudinally. Hemoplasma pathology is poorly known in wildlife but appears subclinical. Candidatus Mycoplasma haematohominis, that causes pathology in humans, probably has it natural host in bats. Hemoplasmas can serve as a model system in ecological and evolutionary studies, and future research on these pathogens in wildlife must focus on increasing the geographical range and taxa of studies and elucidating pathology, transmission, and zoonotic potential. To facilitate such work, we recommend universal PCR primers or NGS protocols to detect novel hemoplasmas and other genetic markers to differentiate among species and infer cross-species transmission.
... Rickettsial bacteria of the genus Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia have been molecularly detected in dogs and associated ectoparasites in different regions of Chile (Abarca et al. 2007(Abarca et al. , 2012(Abarca et al. , 2013López et al. 2012a;Poo-Muñoz et al. 2016;Cevidanes et al. 2018;Di Cataldo et al. 2021a). Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp., also known as hemoplasmas, have been also broadly detected in dogs all across Chile (Soto et al. 2017;Di Cataldo et al. 2020a;Cataldo et al. 2021b). In contrast, the molecular presence of bacteria of the Bartonella genus in dogs and their ectoparasites has been less studied (Pérez-Martínez et al. 2009;Cevidanes et al. 2018;Müller et al. 2018). ...
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Article
We investigated the co-occurrence of the nine of the most relevant canine vector-borne pathogens (CVBP) using conventional and real-time PCR and evaluated risk factors and potential non-apparent haematological alterations associated with co-infection in 111 rural, owned, free-ranging dogs in the Metropolitan Region of Chile. At least one pathogen was detected in 75% of the dogs. DNA of Anaplasma platys (Ap; 36%), Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum (CMhp; 31%), Mycoplasma haemocanis (Mhc; 28%), Trypanosoma cruzi (17%), Leishmania spp. (4.5%), and Acanthocheilonema reconditum (1%) was detected. All dogs were negative for Ehrlichia spp., Rickettsia spp., Bartonella spp., Piroplasmida, and Hepatozoon spp. Thirty-eight dogs (34%) were coinfected. CMhp was involved in 71%, Mhc in 58%, and Ap in 50% of the co-infections. The most common co-infection pattern was CMhp-Mhc (37% of the cases). The prevalence of Ap was higher in juvenile than in adult dogs, whereas the opposite was found for CMhp and Mhc. Adult dogs were four times more likely of being co-infected than juveniles. Co-infected animals showed higher white blood cell count, segmented neutrophil count, and GGT levels than non-co-infected dogs. Clinically healthy but infected dogs may act as reservoirs of CVBP, and their free-ranging behavior would facilitate the spread of these pathogens to other dogs as well as human beings or wild carnivores. Highlights • DNA of at least one of nine vector-borne pathogens found in 75% of rural dogs. • Anaplasma platys was most prevalent but C. M. haematoparvum was involved in more coinfections. • Adults were four times more likely of being co-infected than juveniles. • Most infections were subclinical, so dogs act as silent reservoirs of pathogens.
... These dogs often lack of veterinary care and may pose a risk for the health of humans and domestic animals (Astorga et al., 2015;Otranto et al., 2017;Vanak and Gompper, 2009). Additionally, these rural dogs frequently invade natural habitats (Villatoro et al., 2019), resulting in possible interspecific pathogen transmission with native foxes (Acosta-Jamett et al., 2011;Di Cataldo et al., 2020a). Andean fox (Lycalopex culpaeus) and South American grey fox (L. ...
Article
Chile is a large country with a marked range of climate conditions that make it an ideal scenario for the study of vector-borne parasites; however, knowledge about their distribution is limited to a few confined areas of this country. The presence of Hepatozoon spp., piroplasmids, Leishmania spp. and filarioids was investigated through molecular and serological methods in blood samples of 764 free-ranging rural dogs, 154 Andean foxes (Lycalopex culpaeus), and 91 South American grey foxes (Lycalopex griseus) from six bioclimatic regions across Chile. Hepato-zoon spp. DNA was exclusively detected in foxes (43% prevalence), including sequences closely related to Hepa-tozoon felis (24.1%; only Andean foxes), Hepatozoon americanum (16.2%; only grey foxes), and Hepatozoon canis (1.25%; in one grey fox). Risk factor assessment identified a higher probability of Hepatozoon infection in juvenile foxes. DNA of piroplasmids was detected in 0.7% of dogs (Babesia vogeli) but in no fox, whilst antibodies against Babesia sp. were detected in 24% of the dogs and 25% of the foxes, suggesting a wider circulation of canine piroplasmids than previously believed. A positive association between the presence of antibodies against Babesia and high Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato burden was observed in dogs. Leishmania spp. DNA and anti-bodies were detected in 0.8% and 4.4% of the dogs, respectively. Acanthocheilonema reconditum was the only blood nematode detected (1.5% of the dogs and no fox). Differences in prevalence among bioregions were observed for some of the VBP. These results expand our knowledge about the occurrence of vector-borne parasites in Chile, some of which are firstly reported herein. This information will facilitate the diagnosis of vector-borne diseases in domestic dogs and improve the control measures for both domestic and wild canids.
... In Chile, mycoplasmal infection is common among domestic animals, with findings from a report by Walker et al (2016) indicating a prevalence of 15.1% in cats living in the southern region of the country. Nonetheless, the detection in wild species such as Darwin's Fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) and guigna (Leopardus guigna), is rather recent (Cabello et al 2013, Walker et al 2016, Di Cataldo et al 2020. The guigna inhabits the temperate rainforests of central and southern Chile and it is currently categorised as Vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) (Gálvez et al 2013). ...
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Article
Routine blood analysis indicated the presence of Mycoplasma-like bodies in a guigna (Leopardus guigna). Evidence of infection with Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum was found in blood samples using PCR and DNA sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene of Mycoplasma. Mycoplasma spp. are documented in cats but their role in the transmission of Mycoplasma to guigna populations requires investigation.
... Canine Mycoplasmosis (CM) is a chronic multisystemic illness caused by a hemotropic parasite from the family Mycoplasmataceae and genus Mycoplasma [formerly Haemobartonella] (Messick, 2002). The most prevalent clinical manifestation is hemolytic anemia, with results ranging from asymptomatic or slight lethargy to death (Cataldo et al., 2020;Zobba et al., 2020). Some reports confirm the zoonotic potential of some Mycoplasma spp. ...
Article
This cross-sectional study aims to investigate the epidemiology and spatial distribution of hemotropic Myco-plasma spp. and Mycoplasma haemocanis in dogs from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Blood samples were collected at random from 437 household dogs. An epidemiological questionnaire was completed concerning the host characteristics as well as the environments in which they lived. A positivity frequency of 17.84% (78/437) was found for Mycoplasma spp. and 2% (9/437) for M. haemocanis in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, through molecular detection based on the 16S rRNA sequence. According to the present study, dogs that live in households with the presence of rodents (odds ratio [OR] = 9.93; p-value = 0.02; confidence interval [CI]: 1.34-73.66) and wild animals (OR = 1.91; p-value = 0.03; CI: 1.06-3.42) are more likely to be infected with Mycoplasma spp.. Also, dogs with tick infestation (OR = 6.47; p-value = 0.007; CI: 1.63-25.60) have more chances to become infected with M. haemocanis. The spatial analysis disclosed a positive correlation between the Mycoplasma presence and tick infestation (global Moran index = 0.82; pseudo-p-value =0.001). The epidemiological findings support the hypothesis of Rhipicephalus sanguineus s.l. as the vector of M. haemocanis in the studied region and provide insightful information to prevent the Mycoplasma spp. infection in dogs from Rio de Janeiro
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Hemotropic mycoplasmas (hemoplasmas) are small Gram-negative bacteria that parasitize red blood cells and can cause mild to severe anemia in a wide range of vertebrates, including ruminants. Cattle population in Somalia is around 3.9 million heads, with animals more concentrated around the river areas, mainly in the Juba River and Shabelle River Valleys. Information on hemoplasmas in Sub-Saharan Africa are scarce, mainly in Somalia, where no studies have been performed to date. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess the molecular occurrence of hemoplasmas in 131 cattle blood samples from Somalia. Thirty out of 131 (22.90%; 95% CI: 16.54-30.81%) cattle were infested by ticks: Rhipicephalus pulchellus (68.18%), Amblyomma gemma (18.18%), Amblyomma lepidum (9.09%), Hyalomma marginatum (1.51%), Hyalmomma rufipes (1.51%), and Rhipicephalus pravus (1.51%). A total of 74/131 (56.48%; 95% CI: 47.93-64.67%) cattle were positive for hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. by real-time PCR (qPCR) based on the 16S rRNA gene. Hemoplasma-positive samples were later subjected to species-specific PCR assays for Mycoplasma wenyonii and ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma haematobovis’ based on the 16S rRNA gene. A total of 34/74 (45.94%; 95% CI: 35.07-57.22%) animals were coinfected by both species; 31/74 (41.89%; 95% CI: 31.32-53.26%) and 3/74 (4.05%; 95% CI: 01.39-11.25%) cattle were solely positive to M. wenyonii and ‘Ca. M. haematobovis’, respectively. Six out of 74 (8.1%; 95% CI: 03.77-16.58%) cattle were negative on species-specific conventional PCR assays but tested positive by a semi-nested PCR assay based on the 16S rRNA gene of hemoplasmas. Sequencing of the detected hemotropic Mycoplasma sp. 16S rRNA gene confirmed that animals were infected by M. wenyonii and ‘Ca. M. haematobovis’. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study on the detection of hemoplasmas in cattle from Somalia.
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The Darwin's fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) is one of the most endangered carnivores worldwide, with the risk of disease spillover from domestic dogs being a major conservation threat. However, lack of epidemiologic information about generalist, non-dog-transmission-dependent protozoal and bacterial pathogens may be a barrier for disease prevention and management. To determine the exposure of some of these agents in Darwin's fox populations, 54 serum samples were collected from 47 Darwin's foxes in Southern Chile during 2013-18 and assessed for the presence of antibodies against Brucella abortus, Brucella canis, Coxiella burnetii, pathogenic Leptospira (serovars Grippotyphosa, Pomona, Canicola, Hardjo, and Copehageni), Toxoplasma gondii, and Neospora caninum. The highest seroprevalence was detected for T. gondii (78%), followed by pathogenic Leptospira (14%). All the studied Leptospira serovars were confirmed in at least one animal. Two foxes seroconverted to Leptospira and one to T. gondii during the study period. No seroconversions were observed for the other pathogens. No risk factors, either intrinsic (sex, age) or extrinsic (season, year, and degree of landscape anthropization), were associated with the probability of being exposed to T. gondii. Our results indicate that T. gondii exposure is widespread in the Darwin's fox population, including in areas with minimal anthropization, and that T. gondii and pathogenic Leptospira might be neglected threats to the species. Further studies identifying the causes of morbidity and mortality in Darwin's fox are needed to determine if these or other pathogens are having individual or population-wide effects in this species.
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Translocation of wildlife as a means of reintroducing or reinforcing threatened populations is an important conservation tool but carries health risks for the translocated animals and their progeny, as well as wildlife, domestic animals and humans in the release area. Disease risk analyses (DRA) are used to identify, prioritise and design mitigation strategies to address these threats. Here we use a DRA undertaken for Amur leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis) to illustrate how specific methodology can optimise mitigation strategy design. A literature review identified a total of 98 infectious hazards, and 28 non‐infectious hazards. Separate analyses were undertaken for disease risks in leopards from hazards of source origin (captive zoo collections and the transit pathway to the Russian Far East), or of destination origin (in breeding enclosures and wider release areas); and for disease risks in other wildlife, domesticated species or humans, similarly from hazards of source or destination origin. Hazards were assessed and ranked as priority 1, priority 2, priority 3 or low priority in each of the defined scenarios. In addition, we undertook a generic assessment of stress on individual leopards. We use three examples to illustrate the process: Chlamydophila felis, canine distemper virus (CDV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). We found that many potentially expensive screening procedures could be performed prior to export of leopards, putting the onus of responsibility onto the zoo sector, for which access to diagnostic testing facilities is likely to be optimal. We discuss how our methods highlighted significant data gaps relating to pathogen prevalence in the RFE and likely future unpredictability, in particular with respect to CDV. There was emphasis at all stages on record keeping, meticulous planning, design, staff training, and enclosure management, which are relatively financially inexpensive. Actions to minimise stress featured at all time‐points in the strategy, and also focussed on planning, design and management.
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We collected blood and/or ectoparasites from 49 South American grey foxes (Lycalopex griseus) and two Andean foxes (L. culpaeus) caught in two National Parks of southern Argentine Patagonia (Bosques Petrificados, BPNP; and Monte León, MLNP) where dogs are nearly absent (density < 0.01 dog/km2). Common ectoparasites were the flea Pulex irritans (88% prevalence) and the tick Amblyomma tigrinum (29%). Conventional PCR and sequencing of 49 blood samples, 299 fleas analysed in 78 pools, and 21 ticks revealed the presence of DNA of the following canine vector-borne pathogens: in grey foxes, Rickettsia sp. (3%), hemoplasmas (8%), including Mycoplasma haemocanis, and Hepatozoon sp. (50%); in P. irritans, Bartonella spp. (72% of flea pools from 76% of foxes), mostly B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii but also B. rochalimae, Anaplasmataceae (Wolbachia sp.; 60% and 54%), and M. haemocanis/haemofelis (29% and 18%); and in A. tigrinum, Hepatozoon sp. (33% of ticks in 4 of 7 foxes). No piroplasmid DNA was detected in any sample. Andean foxes were negative for all tested pathogens. Two different Hepatozoon haplotypes were detected: the most prevalent was phylogenetically associated with H. felis, and the other with H. americanum and related sequences. Amblyomma tigrinum and Hepatozoon sp. were more abundant and/or prevalent in BPNP than in colder MLNP, 300 km southwards, perhaps located close to the limit for tick suitability. Bartonella v. berkhoffii was also significantly more prevalent in fleas of foxes in BPNP than in MLNP. This study provides novel information about natural host-pathogen associations in wildlife, markedly extends the distribution area in South America of arthropods and vector-borne pathogens of veterinary and public health interest, and contributes preliminary evidence about the potential role of A. tigrinum and P. irritans as vectors, respectively, for potentially new species of Hepatozoon from Lycalopex spp. and for M. haemocanis that should be further investigated.
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Many pathogens infect multiple hosts, and spillover from domestic to wild species poses a significant risk of spread of diseases that threaten wildlife and humans. Documentation of cross‐species transmission, and unraveling the mechanisms that drive it, remains a challenge. Focusing on co‐occurring domestic and wild felids, we evaluate possible transmission mechanisms and evidence of spillover of “Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum” (CMhm), an erythrocytic bacterial parasite of cats. We examine transmission and possibility of spillover by analyzing CMhm prevalence, modeling possible transmission pathways, deducing genotypes of CMhm pathogens infecting felid hosts based on sequences of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene, and conducting phylogenetic analyses with ancestral state reconstruction to identify likely cross‐species transmission events. Model selection analyses suggest both indirect (i.e., spread via vectors) and direct (i.e., via interspecific predation) pathways may play a role in CMhm transmission. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that transmission of CMhm appears to predominate within host species, with occasional spillover, at unknown frequency, between species. These analyses are consistent with transmission by predation of smaller cats by larger species, with subsequent within‐species persistence after spillover. Our results implicate domestic cats as a source of global dispersal and spillover to wild felids via predation. We contribute to the emerging documentation of predation as a common means of pathogen spillover from domestic to wild cats, including pathogens of global conservation significance. These findings suggest risks for top predators as bioaccumulators of pathogens from subordinate species.
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The Darwin’s fox is one of the most threatened carnivores worldwide and was thought to occur in only two isolated areas. Recently this canid was found in the Valdivian Coastal Range, between the previously known populations, but other than their presence, little is known about these populations. Here we report the results of camera trap surveys conducted between 2012 and 2016 (18,866 camera days), including surveys in 30 different sites—distributed along c. 400 km—and monitoring in two contiguous protected areas. Darwin’s fox detection rate was higher when forest cover was higher or when domestic dog (Canis familiaris) detection rate was lower. Given confirmed presence, the detection rate was higher for sites in Chiloé Island, than in the mainland’s Coastal Range. In mainland, we found evidence of dogs’ presence in most of the sites we detected Darwin’s foxes. In the protected areas monitored, Darwin’s foxes were found to use 12% and 15% of the area sampled in 2015 and 2016 respectively, although there was high uncertainty in the 2016 estimates due to low probability of detection. We did not detect Darwin’s foxes in forestry plantations. Our findings provide support for a continuous distribution along the mainland’s Coastal Range and Chiloé Island but we hypothesize—based on the major differences observed in detection rates between these areas—that local densities are lower in mainland than in Chiloé Island. Finally, Darwin’s fox appears to be sensitive to human disturbance and these disturbances, especially dogs, are ubiquitous within its newly discovered range.
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Background Hemoplasma species (spp.) commonly cause infections in cats worldwide. However, data on risk factors for infections are limited. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of hemoplasma spp. infections in cats in Southern Germany and to assess risk factors associated with infection. ResultsDNA was extracted from blood samples of 479 cats presented to different veterinary hospitals for various reasons. DNA of feline hemoplasmas was amplified by use of a previously reported PCR assay. Direct sequencing was used to confirm all purified amplicons and compared to hemoplasma sequences reported in GenBank. Results were evaluated in relation to the age, sex, housing conditions, feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) status of the cats.The overall hemoplasma prevalence rate was 9.4% (45/479; 95% CI: 7.08–12.36). ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma (M.) haemominutum’ (Mhm) DNA was amplified from 42 samples, M. haemofelis from 2, and M. haemocanis from 1 sample. There was a significantly higher risk of hemoplasma infection in cats from multi-cat households, in outdoor cats, as well as in cats with FIVinfection and in cats with abortive FeLV infection, but not in cats with progressive or regressive FeLV infection. Conclusions Mhm infection is common in cats in Southern Germany. Higher prevalence in multi-cat households and associations with FeLV infection likely reflect the potential for direct transmission amongst cats. Outdoor access, male gender, and FIV infection are additional risk factors that might relate to aggressive interactions and exposure to vectors.
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Background In Argentina, only very few reports are available for canine tick-borne diseases where most are related to parasitic diseases. The objective of this survey was to investigate the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in 70 dogs from Santa Fé and Córdoba, Argentina. Methods Microscopic blood smear examination as well as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification using species-specific markers of Anaplasma, Babesia, Bartonella, Borrelia, Ehrlichia, Francisella, Mycoplasma (hemotropic group) and Rickettsia, followed by DNA sequencing were used to establish the prevalence of each infecting pathogen. Results Blood smear analysis showed 81% (57/70) prevalence of structures morphologically compatible with hemotropic mycoplasmas. No structures resembling either piroplasms or Anaplasma/Ehrlichia were detected. Hemotropic mycoplasma species (Mycoplasma haematoparvum, Mycoplasma haemocanis and Mycoplasma suis) were the most prevalent pathogens detected with an overall prevalence of 77.1%. Anaplasma platys was detected and identified in 11 of the 70 dogs (15.7%), meanwhile two Bartonella spp. (B. clarridgeiae and an uncharacterized Bartonella sp.) and Babesia vogeli were detected at 3 and 7% prevalence, respectively. Conclusions The work presented here describes a high molecular prevalence for hemotropic mycoplasma species in each of the five locations selected. Three Mycoplasma spp., including Mycoplasma suis, reported for the first time in dogs have been identified by DNA amplification and sequencing. This study highlights the risk that these bacterial pathogens represent for companion animals and, due to their potential zoonotic nature, also for people.
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Tolerance, the ability of a host to limit the negative fitness effects of a given parasite load, is now recognised as an important host defence strategy in animals. Together with resistance, the ability of a host to limit parasite load, these two host strategies represent two disparate host responses to parasites, each with different predicted evolutionary consequences: resistance is predicted to reduce parasite prevalence, whereas tolerance could be neutral towards, or increase, parasite prevalence in a population. The distinction between these two strategies might have far-reaching epidemiological consequences. Classically, a reaction norm defines host tolerance because it depicts the change in host fitness as a function of parasite load, where a shallow negative slope indicates that host fitness slowly deteriorates as parasite load increases (i.e., high tolerance). Despite the fact that tolerance was only recently acknowledged to be an important component in an animal’s immune repertoire, it is frequently referenced, so our aim is to emphasise the current advances on the topic. We begin by summarising the ways in which biologists measure the two components of tolerance, parasite load and fitness, as well as the ways in which the concept has been defined (i.e., point and range tolerance). It is common to test for variation in host tolerance according to intrinsic, innate factors, where variation exists among populations, genders or genotypes. Such variation in tolerance is pervasive across animal taxa, and we briefly review some of the mechanistic bases of variation that have recently begun to be explored. Three further novel advancements in the tolerance field are the appreciation of the role of extrinsic, environmental factors on tolerance, host tolerance in multi-host–parasite systems and individual-based approaches to tolerance measures. We explore these topics using recent examples and suggest some future perspectives. It is becoming increasingly clear that an appreciation of tolerance as a defence strategy can provide significant insights into how hosts coexist with parasites.
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The presence of domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) in Brazilian protected areas is fairly frequent. The interaction of such dogs with native animals leads to population declines for many species, particularly carnivores. In this paper the main threats dogs bring about Brazilian biodiversity are assessed with a focus on protected areas. We collected information from papers on the interaction of dogs and wildlife species as well as from interviews with National Park managers. Studies in protected areas in Brazil listed 37 native species affected by the presence of dogs due to competition, predation, or pathogen transmission. Among the 69 threatened species of the Brazilian fauna, 55% have been cited in studies on dogs. Dog occurrence was assessed for 31 National Parks in Brazil. The presence of human residents and hunters in protected areas were the factors most often quoted as facilitating dog occurrence. These may be feral, street or domestically owned dogs found in protected areas in urban, rural or natural areas. Effective actions to control this invasive alien species in natural areas must consider dog dependence upon humans, pathways of entry, and the surrounding landscape and context.
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Wildlife inhabiting human-dominated landscapes is at risk of pathogen spill-over from domestic species. With the aim of gaining knowledge in the dynamics of viral infections in Iberian wolves (Canis lupus) living in anthropized landscapes of northern Spain, we analysed between 2010 and 2013 samples of 54 wolves by serology and PCR for exposure to four pathogenic canine viruses: Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), Canine Parvovirus-2 (CPV), Canine Adenovirus 1 and 2 (CAV-1 and CAV-2), and Canine Herpesvirus (CPH). Overall, 76% of the studied wolves presented evidence of exposure to CPV (96% by HI, 66% by PCR), and 75% to CAV (75% by SN, 76% by PCR, of which 70% CAV-1, 6% CAV-2). This represents the first detection of CAV-2 infection in a wild carnivore. CPV/CAV-1 co-infection occurred in 51% of the wolves. The probability of wolf exposure to CPV was positively and significantly correlated with farm density in a buffer zone around the place where the wolf was found, indicating that rural dogs might be the origin of CPV infecting wolves. CPV and CAV-1 appear to be enzootic in the Iberian wolf population, which is supported by the absence of seasonal and inter-annual variations in the proportion of positive samples detected. However, while CPV may depend on periodical introductions by dogs, CAV-1 may be maintained within the wolf population. All wolves were negative for exposure to CDV (by SN and PCR) and CHV (by PCR). The absence of acquired immunity against CDV in this population may predispose it to an elevated rate of mortality in the event of a distemper spill-over via dogs.
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The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of hemoplasmas in a rural Brazilian settlement’s population of human beings, their dogs and horses, highly exposed to tick bites; to identify the tick species parasitizing dogs and horses, and analyze factors associated with their infection. Blood samples from 132 dogs, 16 horses and 100 humans were screened using a pan-hemoplasma SYBR green real-time PCR assay followed by a species-specific TaqMan real-time PCR. A total of 59/132 (44.7%) dog samples were positive for hemoplasmas (21 Mycoplasma haemocanis alone, 12 ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum’ alone and 21 both). Only 1/100 (1.0%) human sample was positive by qPCR SYBR green, with no successful amplification of 16S rRNA or 23 rRNA genes despite multiple attempts. All horse samples were negative. Dogs >1 year of age were more likely to be positive for hemoplasmas (p = 0.0014). In conclusion, although canine hemoplasma infection was highly prevalent, cross-species hemoplasma transmission was not observed, and therefore may not frequently occur despite overexposure of agents and vectors.
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Diurnal human activity and domestic dogs in agro-forestry mosaics should theoretically modify the diurnal habitat use patterns of native carnivores, with these effects being scale-dependent. We combined intensive camera trapping data with Bayesian occurrence probability models to evaluate both diurnal and nocturnal patterns of space use by carnivores in a mosaic of land-use types in southern Chile. A total of eight carnivores species were recorded, including human-introduced dogs. During the day the most frequently detected species were the culpeo fox and the cougar. Conversely, during the night, the kodkod and chilla fox were the most detected species. The best supported models showed that native carnivores responded differently to landscape attributes and dogs depending on both the time of day as well as the spatial scale of landscape attributes. The positive effect of native forest cover at 250m and 500 m radius buffers was stronger during the night for the Darwin's fox and cougar. Road density at 250m scale negatively affected the diurnal occurrence of Darwin´s fox, whereas at 500m scale roads had a stronger negative effect on the diurnal occurrence of Darwin´s foxes and cougars. A positive effect of road density on dog occurrence was evidenced during both night and day. Patch size had a positive effect on cougar occurrence during night whereas it affected negatively the occurrence of culpeo foxes and skunks during day. Dog occurrence had a negative effect on Darwin's fox occurrence during day-time and night-time, whereas its negative effect on the occurrence of cougar was evidenced only during day-time. Carnivore occurrences were not influenced by the proximity to a conservation area. Our results provided support for the hypothesis that diurnal changes to carnivore occurrence were associated with human and dog activity. Landscape planning in our study area should be focused in reducing both the levels of diurnal human activity in native forest remnants and the dispersion rates of dogs into these habitats.
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Hosts are typically coinfected by multiple parasite species, resulting in potentially overwhelming levels of complexity. We argue that an individual host can be considered to be an ecosystem in that it is an environment containing a diversity of entities (e.g., parasitic organisms, commensal symbionts, host immune components) that interact with each other, potentially competing for space, energy, and resources, ultimately influencing the condition of the host. Tools and concepts from ecosystem ecology can be applied to better understand the dynamics and responses of within-individual host-parasite ecosystems. Examples from both wildlife and human systems demonstrate how this framework is useful in breaking down complex interactions into components that can be monitored, measured, and managed to inform the design of better disease-management strategies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Forests in Flux Forests worldwide are in a state of flux, with accelerating losses in some regions and gains in others. Hansen et al. (p. 850 ) examined global Landsat data at a 30-meter spatial resolution to characterize forest extent, loss, and gain from 2000 to 2012. Globally, 2.3 million square kilometers of forest were lost during the 12-year study period and 0.8 million square kilometers of new forest were gained. The tropics exhibited both the greatest losses and the greatest gains (through regrowth and plantation), with losses outstripping gains.
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The diagnosis of feline haemoplasmosis has improved over the years, with several techniques enabling a clear and specific diagnosis, and where polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is considered as the 'gold standard'. The aim of this study was to survey the prevalence of feline haemoplasma in 320 cats from the north-central region of Portugal by the use of real-time PCR, as well as to evaluate any associations between infection, clinical presentation and risk factors. The overall prevalence of infection by feline haemoplasma was 43.43% (139/320), where 41.56% (133/320) corresponded to Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum (CMhm), 12.81% (41/320) to Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf), 4.38% (14/320) to Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum and 1.25% (4/320) to Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis. Almost 13% (47/320) of the samples were co-infected, with the most common co-infection being CMhm and Mhf (23.74%). Infection was found statistically significant with feline immunodeficiency/feline leukaemia virus status (P = 0.034), but no significant association was found for breed, sex, fertility status (neutered/spayed/entire), age, clinical status, living conditions (in/outdoor), anaemia status, or the presence/absence of ticks or fleas. Cats from north-central Portugal are infected with all the known feline haemoplasma species, with CMhm being the most common one. Prevalence of all feline haemoplasmas was higher than those reported previously in cats from other European countries, but similar to that described in Portugal for dogs. These data provide a better perspective regarding Mycoplasma species infection in Europe, and new information that helps us better understand feline haemoplasmosis.
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Hemotropic mycoplasmas, epicellular erythrocytic bacterial parasites lacking a cell wall, are the causative agents of infectious anemia in numerous mammalian species. The presence of hemotropic mycoplasmas in blood samples of neotropical and exotic wild canids and felids from Brazilian zoos were recorded using molecular techniques. Blood samples were collected from 146 Brazilian wild felids, 19 exotic felids, 3 European wolves (Canis lupus), and from 97 Brazilian wild canids from zoos in the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Mato Grosso and the Federal District. Using conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR), this work found 22 (13%) wild felids positive to Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum [4 jaguars (Panthera onca); 3 pumas (Puma concolor); 10 ocelots (Leopardus pardalis); 2 jaguarondis (Puma yagouaroundi); and 3 little spotted cats (Leopardus tigrinus)]. Only one little spotted cat (Leopardus tigrinus) was positive to Mycoplasma haemofelis, and none was positive to Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis. Two bush dogs (Speothos venaticus) were positive for a Mycoplasma sp. closely related to Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum, and two European wolves were positive for a Mycoplasma sp. closely related to Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum. This is the first study regarding the molecular detection of hemotropic mycoplasmas in wild canids.
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The behavioral ecology of the critically endangered Darwin's fox Pseudalopex fulvipes was examined during the reproductive season of 2001/2002 on a coastal population, on Chiloé Island in southern Chile. Foxes were radio-tracked and their diet and feeding behavior, activity patterns, home range sizes and spatial organization, habitat use and selection, social organization and abundance were studied. Foxes were solitary hunters and showed a generalist and opportunistic feeding behavior. Insects were the most abundant prey, followed by crustaceans, rodents, birds, amphibians, ungulates, reptiles, and marsupials. As marine organisms were frequently eaten, the ocean subsidy was important. Plant seeds were dispersed up to +650 m from their sources. Prey were hunted in all habitat types recognized, throughout the daily cycle, and were consumed as they were available along the season. All foxes were active throughout the day, but more so at night. Morphologically, aside from males having broader muzzles, they did not show external sexual dimorphism or differences in weight. The tail and feet of Darwin's foxes were relatively shorter than in other congeneric species. Individual home ranges and core areas ranged from 103 to 488 ha and from 30 to 130 ha, respectively, were similar between males and females, and larger than expected for foxes of that size. All home ranges were elongated (2930 m on average) following the shoreline. Foxes overlapped their home ranges extensively – and core areas less so – with individuals of the same or different gender, showing no apparent territorial behavior. They appear to be monogamous, allowing subordinates in their home ranges. The ecological density was 0.92 foxes km−2, which may be higher than in inland populations. Old-growth forest was consistently avoided by all individuals, second-growth forest and shrubland were used as available, and the use of dunes and other lands (mainly shores) was mixed.
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Humans create ecologically simplified landscapes that favour some wildlife species, but not others. Here, we explore the possibility that those species that tolerate or do well in human-modified environments, or 'synanthropic' species, are predominantly the hosts of zoonotic emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (EIDs). We do this using global wildlife conservation data and wildlife host information extracted from systematically reviewed emerging infectious disease literature. The evidence for this relationship is examined with special emphasis on the Australasian, South East Asian and East Asian regions. We find that synanthropic wildlife hosts are approximately 15 times more likely than other wildlife in this region to be the source of emerging infectious diseases, and this association is essentially independent of the taxonomy of the species. A significant positive association with EIDs is also evident for those wildlife species of low conservation risk. Since the increase and spread of native and introduced species able to adapt to human-induced landscape change is at the expense of those species most vulnerable to habitat loss, our findings suggest a mechanism linking land conversion, global decline in biodiversity and a rise in EIDs of wildlife origin.
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In its widest sense disease can be regarded as any impairment of normal functions. However, for the purposes of this book we will mostly restrict our discussion to infectious diseases, the agents of which are often described as parasites or pathogens. For convenience, these organisms are often split into two categories that reflect their broad characteristics, and their relative size. The macroparasites are multi-cellular organisms that live in or on the host, such as helminths and arthropods, while microparasites include viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. The main functional differences between the two relate to their generation times, with microparasites exhibiting relatively higher within-host reproductive rates and shorter generation times than macroparasites. As a result microparasites are frequently associated with acute disease, although they can induce long-lived immunity to re-infection in recovered hosts. Macroparasites by contrast are more likely to produce chronic infections often characterised by short-lived immunity in heavily infected hosts, and re-infection. Macroparasites may also have distinct life stages that can survive outside the host (e.g. eggs or larvae) and sometimes require other host species to complete their life cycle. Two important groups of pathogens fall outside this classification: rogue proteins (prions) implicated in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and infectious cancers, of which Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease is a well known example. However, in broad respects these are most usefully considered as microparasites, often producing acute clinical signs without host immunity.
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Haemotropic mycoplasmas (or haemoplasmas) are the causative agents of infectious anaemia in many mammalian species. They were previously known as Haemobartonella and Eperythrozoon species. The development of sensitive, specific PCR assays has expanded our knowledge of these agents and PCR is the method of choice to diagnose and differentiate haemoplasma infections. In felids, Mycoplasma haemofelis, 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum' and 'Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis' have been described. They vary strongly in their pathogenic potential and co-factors may influence the disease severity. In dogs, Mycoplasma haemocanis and 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum' are known; clinical signs are mainly found in immunocompromised dogs. Transmission of haemoplasmas may occur via infected blood (aggressive interaction, transfusion) or blood-sucking arthropods. Infections can be treated with Doxycycline, although it is disputable whether the infection is completely eliminated. Feline haemoplasmas must be expected in cats all over Europe, while canine haemoplasmas are mainly encountered in dogs in Mediterranean countries but should also be considered in Swiss dogs with a travel history.
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The aims of the present study were to determine the prevalence of hemoplasmas in cats and dogs from the Barcelona area of Spain with the use of species-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays and to evaluate any associations between hemoplasma infection, clinical presentation, and vector-borne infections. Blood samples from cats (191) and dogs (182) were included and were classified as healthy (149) or unhealthy (224). Ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid blood samples underwent DNA extraction and qPCR analysis. Mycoplasma haemofelis, 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum', and 'Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis' were detected in cats, whereas Mycoplasma haemocanis and 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum' were detected in dogs, with prevalences of 3.7%, 9.9%, 0.5%, 14.3%, and 0.6%, respectively. In cats, no association between hemoplasma infection and health status, age, breed, presence of anemia, Feline leukemia virus status, and other vector-borne infections was found, but outdoor access (P = 0.009), male sex (P = 0.01), and Feline immunodeficiency virus status (P < 0.001) were significantly associated with hemoplasma infection. In dogs, sex, age, health status, presence of anemia, and breed were not significantly associated with hemoplasma infection, but a significant association was found between hemoplasma infection and vector-borne infections (P < 0.001). The present report documents the occurrence of feline 'Candidatus M. turicensis' and canine 'Candidatus M. haematoparvum' infections in Spain.
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The natural transmission routes of the three feline haemotropic mycoplasmas--Mycoplasma haemofelis, 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum', and 'Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis' (CMt)--are largely unknown. Since CMt has been detected in the saliva of infected cats using PCR, we hypothesised that direct transmission via social or aggressive contact may occur. The aim of this study was to evaluate this transmission route. CMt-positive saliva and blood samples were obtained from three prednisolonetreated specific pathogen-free (SPF) cats that were infected intraperitoneally with CMt. Five SPF cats were inoculated with CMt-positive saliva or blood subcutaneously to mimic cat bites, and five cats were inoculated orally with blood or oronasally with saliva to mimic social contact. Blood samples were monitored for CMt infection using quantitative real-time PCR and for seroconversion using a novel western blot assay. Neither oronasal nor subcutaneous inoculation with CMt-positive saliva led to CMt infection in the recipient cats, as determined by PCR, independent of prior prednisolone treatment. However, when blood containing the same CMt dose was given subcutaneously, 4 of the 5 cats became PCR-positive, while none of the 5 cats inoculated orally with up to 500 microL of CMt-positive blood became PCR-positive. Subsequently, the latter cats were successfully subcutaneously infected with blood. All 13 CMt-exposed cats seroconverted. In conclusion, CMt transmission by social contact seems less likely than transmission by aggressive interaction. The latter transmission may occur if the recipient cat is exposed to blood from an infected cat.
Article
A new statistic for detecting genetic differentiation of subpopulations is described. The statistic can be calculated when genetic data are collected on individuals sampled from two or more localities. It is assumed that haplotypic data are obtained, either in the form of DNA sequences or data on many tightly linked markers. Using a symmetric island model, and assuming an infinite-sites model of mutation, it is found that the new statistic is as powerful or more powerful than previously proposed statistics for a wide range of parameter values.
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Carnivore conservation depends on people's willingness to implement management practices to reduce threats to carnivores and mitigate conflicts between carnivores and domestic animals. We assessed the willingness of rural communities in central-southern Chile to (1) conserve carnivores, and (2) adopt management practices to reduce predation of domestic animals, a key factor triggering carnivore–human conflicts in rural areas. The study focused on five carnivores: the chilla Lycalopex griseus , the culpeo Lycalopex culpaeus , Darwin's fox Lycalopex fulvipes , the guiña or kodkod Leopardus guigna , and the puma Puma concolor . We found that rural communities perceived that threats towards carnivores rarely occurr in their region, contrary to the literature on this subject; people's attitudes differed depending on the carnivore; and people were willing to adopt management practices to help conserve carnivores (e.g. overnight protection of domestic animals and investment in infrastructure for henhouses and cowsheds), except leashing dogs. The willingness to conserve carnivores and adopt practices that would help do so may be associated with how these measures affect people's well-being. Although rural communities would like carnivores to be conserved, this cannot be achieved unless some pivotal practices, such as management of domestic dogs, are adopted by these communities. For successful biodiversity conservation outcomes in human-dominated landscapes, the social incentives necessary for rural communities to adopt appropriate management practices must be identified and implemented.
Article
Two-hundred and thirty-one wild carnivores belonging to 10 species of in Spain were analyzed for the presence of DNA of hemotropic mycoplasmas (hemoplasmas) by means of a universal real-time PCR targeting a 16S rRNA gene fragment. Positive reactions were found for wolf (Canis lupus: 6/37), fox (Vulpes vulpes: 1/41), Eurasian badger (Meles meles: 49/85), pine marten (Martes martes: 11/23), stone marten (Martes foina: 6/9), least weasel (Mustela nivalis: 4/4), European wildcat (Felis s. silvestris: 1/2) and common genet (Genetta genetta: 7/27). Sixty-four readable sequences were obtained, resulting in 14 nucleotide sequence types (ntST). The highest diversity was detected in badger (6 ntST) and pine marten (5 ntST). The sequencing of a fragment of the RNase P gene showed that all positive reactions in wolves corresponded to Mycoplasma haemocanis. Three ntST showed an identity between 98–100% with Candidatus M. haemominutum, C. M. turicensis and C. M. haematoparvum, respectively. Four ntST were closely related to C. M. haemomeles and/or diverse genotypes reported from raccoons (Procyon lotor) in the USA. One ntST from a badger showed only 88% similarity to the closest published sequence and was phylogenetically unrelated to any other hemoplasma sequence reported. Three ntST were 99–100% similar to two different sequences reported in Spanish bats. This study confirms the widespread nature and the high genetic diversity of hemoplasma infection in carnivores. Wild carnivores might be natural hosts of some hemoplasmas infecting dogs and cats.
Article
Recent work has shown that there may be disadvantages in the use of the chi-square-like goodness-of-fit tests for the logistic regression model proposed by Hosmer and Lemeshow that use fixed groups of the estimated probabilities. A particular concern with these grouping strategies based on estimated probabilities, fitted values, is that groups may contain subjects with widely different values of the covariates. It is possible to demonstrate situations where one set of fixed groups shows the model fits while the test rejects fit using a different set of fixed groups. We compare the performance by simulation of these tests to tests based on smoothed residuals proposed by le Cessie and Van Houwelingen and Royston, a score test for an extended logistic regression model proposed by Stukel, the Pearson chi-square and the unweighted residual sum-of- squares. These simulations demonstrate that all but one of Royston's tests have the correct size. An examination of the performance of the tests when the correct model has a quadratic term but a model containing only the linear term has been fit shows that the Pearson chi-square, the unweighted sum-of-squares, the Hosmer–Lemeshow decile of risk, the smoothed residual sum-of-squares and Stukel's score test, have power exceeding 50 per cent to detect moderate departures from linearity when the sample size is 100 and have power over 90 per cent for these same alternatives for samples of size 500. All tests had no power when the correct model had an interaction between a dichotomous and continuous covariate but only the continuous covariate model was fit. Power to detect an incorrectly specified link was poor for samples of size 100. For samples of size 500 Stukel's score test had the best power but it only exceeded 50 per cent to detect an asymmetric link function. The power of the unweighted sum-of-squares test to detect an incorrectly specified link function was slightly less than Stukel's score test. We illustrate the tests within the context of a model for factors associated with low birth weight. © 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Stat. Med., Vol. 16, 965–980 (1997).
Article
Wild animals, especially canids, are important reservoirs of vector-borne pathogens, that are transmitted by the ticks and other bloodsucking arthropods. In total, 300 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), shot by the hunters in eastern and northern Slovakia, were screened for the presence of vector-borne pathogens by PCR-based methods Blood samples were obtained from nine red foxes and tissue samples originated from 291 animals (the liver tissue samples from 49 foxes and spleen samples from 242 red foxes). Babesia vulpes and haemotropic Mycoplasma species were identified by amplification and sequencing of 18S rRNA and 16S rRNA gene fragments, respectively. Overall, the presence of these pathogens was recorded in 12.3% of screened DNA samples. Altogether 9.7% (29/300) of investigated foxes carried DNA of Babesia spp. In total, 12 out of 29 Babesia spp. PCR – positive amplicons were further sequenced and identified as B. vulpes (41.4%; 12/29), remaining 17 samples are referred as Babesia sp. (58.6%; 17/29). Overall prevalence of B. vulpes reached 4.0% (n = 300). Thirteen (4.3%) samples tested positive for distinct Mycoplasma species. To the best of our knowledge, this study brings the first information on B. vulpes infection in red foxes in Slovakia, and the first data on the prevalence and diversity of haemotropic Mycoplasma spp. in European red fox population. Moreover, co-infections with B. vulpes and Mycoplasma spp. were confirmed in 1.7% of tested DNA samples. The relatively high rates of blood pathogen’ prevalence and species diversity in wild foxes indicate the role of the fox population in the maintenance of the parasites in sylvatic cycles and strengthen the assumption that foxes play an important role in spreading of infectious microorganisms within and outside the natural foci.
Article
Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are successful urban adapters and hosts to a number of zoonotic and nonzoonotic pathogens, yet little is known about their hemoplasma infections and how prevalence varies across habitat types. This study identifies hemotropic Mycoplasma species infection in raccoons from urban and undisturbed habitats and compares hemoplasma infection in sympatric urban cats (Felis catus) from the same geographic region. We collected blood from raccoons (n = 95) on an urban coastal island (n = 37) and an undisturbed coastal island (n = 58) and from sympatric urban cats (n = 39) in Georgia, USA. Based on 16S rRNA gene amplification, 62.1% (59/95) of raccoons and 17.9% (7/39) of feral cats were positive for hemoplasma. There was a greater percentage of hemoplasma-infected raccoons on the undisturbed island (79.3% [46/58]) than on the urban island (35.1% [13/37]; χ² = 16.9, df = 1, P = 0.00004). Sequencing of the full-length 16S rRNA gene amplicons revealed six hemoplasma genotypes in raccoons, including five novel genotypes that were distinct from three known hemoplasma species identified in the sympatric cats. In addition, the hemoplasma genotypes detected in raccoons were not identified in sympatric cats or vice versa. Although all six hemoplasma genotypes were found in raccoons from urban and undisturbed islands, coinfection patterns differed between sites and among individuals, with the proportion of coinfected raccoons being greater in the undisturbed site. This study shows that raccoons are hosts for several novel hemoplasmas and that habitat type influences infection patterns. IMPORTANCE This study provides information about novel hemoplasmas identified in raccoons (Procyon lotor), which can be used for assessments of the prevalence of these hemoplasmas in raccoon populations and for future studies on the potential pathogenic impacts of these hemoplasmas on raccoon health. Raccoons from the undisturbed habitat had a higher prevalence of hemoplasma infection than urban raccoons. There does not appear to be cross-species transmission of hemotropic mycoplasmas between urban raccoons and feral cats. Raccoons appear to be hosts for several novel hemoplasmas, and habitat type influences infection patterns.
Article
Management strategies for dog populations and their diseases include reproductive control, euthanasia and vaccination, among others. However, the effectiveness of these strategies can be severely affected by human-mediated dog movement. If immigration is important, then the location of origin of dogs imported by humans will be fundamental to define the spatial scales over which population management and research should apply. In this context, the main objective of our study was to determine the spatial extent of dog demographic processes in rural areas and the proportion of dogs that could be labeled as immigrants at multiple spatial scales. To address our objective we conducted surveys in households located in a rural landscape in southern Chile. Interviews allowed us to obtain information on the demographic characteristics of dogs in these rural settings, human influence on dog mortality and births, the localities of origin of dogs living in rural areas, and the spatial extent of human-mediated dog movement. We found that most rural dogs (64.1%) were either urban dogs that had been brought to rural areas (40.0%), or adopted dogs that had been previously abandoned in rural roads (24.1%). Some dogs were brought from areas located as far as ∼700 km away from the study area. Human-mediated movement of dogs, especially from urban areas, seems to play a fundamental role in the population dynamics of dogs in rural areas. Consequently, local scale efforts to manage dog populations or their diseases are unlikely to succeed if implemented in isolation, simply because dogs can be brought from surrounding urban areas or even distant locations. We suggest that efforts to manage or study dog populations and related diseases should be implemented using a multi-scale approach.
Article
Hemotropic mycoplasmas, epicellular erythrocytic bacterial parasites lacking a cell wall, are the causative agents of infectious anemia in numerous mammalian species. The presence of hemotropic mycoplasmas in blood samples of neotropical and exotic wild canids and felids from Brazilian zoos were recorded using molecular techniques. Blood samples were collected from 146 Brazilian wild felids, 19 exotic felids, 3 European wolves (Canis lupus), and from 97 Brazilian wild canids from zoos in the Brazilian states of Sao Paulo and Mato Grosso and the Federal District. Using conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR), this work found 22 (13%) wild felids positive to Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum [4 jaguars (Panthera onca); 3 pumas (Puma concolor); 10 ocelots (Leopardus pardalis); 2 jaguarondis (Puma yagouaroundi); and 3 little spotted cats (Leopardus tigrinus)]. Only one little spotted cat (Leopardus tigrinus) was positive to Mycoplasma haemofelis, and none was positive to Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis. Two bush dogs (Speothos venaticus) were positive for a Mycoplasma sp. closely related to Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum, and two European wolves were positive for a Mycoplasma sp. closely related to candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum. This is the first study regarding the molecular detection of hemotropic mycoplasmas in wild canids.
Article
An epidemiological survey of Iriomote cats (Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis) was conducted to understand the prevalence and molecular characteristics of hemotropic mycoplasma (hemoplasma). A series of ecological surveys of Iriomote cats were performed between November 2003 and September 2010. During this period, 31 Iriomote cats were captured or found, and 39 blood samples were collected. Polymerase chain reaction screening for hemoplasmas and BLAST searches revealed that 4 of the 31 cats were positive for hemoplasma infection (n=3, Mycoplasma haemofelis [Mhf]; n=1, 'Candidatus M. turicensis' [CMt]). The 4 infected cats were captured or found in the northern area of the island of Iriomote. Phylogenetic analyses revealed close relationships between Mhf and CMt isolated from Iriomote cats compared with those from domestic cats and other wild felids. In our study, we identified two species of hemoplasma in Iriomote cats. The number and location of the hemoplasma-positive cats appeared to be limited; however, continuous surveillance of hemoplasma infection in Iriomote cats is necessary.
Article
The distinction between infection and disease may be subtle, and detection of disease in wild animal populations depends on the sophistication of sampling design and diagnostic techniques used in examining animal populations. The impact of infection on the host is dependent not only on the pathogenicity of the infection but also on the interactions between infection and other factors such as nutritional status and stress. In this paper I review mechanisms by which parasitic infections can influence the survival, reproduction, and movement patterns of infected individuals. I then discuss the implications for host populations, in particular with reference to the potential of parasites to regulate the abundance of host populations. The implications of infection and disease on host populations are then extended to demonstrate consequences on community structure. Difficulties associated with assessing the level of infection or disease in wild animal populations are discussed and used to account for the frequently held belief that disease rarely occurs in wild animal populations. Finally, the consequences of infection and disease for conservation biology are outlined. Disease is considered with regard to introductions and maintenance of genetic diversity. Emphasis is placed on the dangers associated with forcing animals into high-density situations. High host densities lead directly to increased disease because of increased transmission rates, and also indirectly increase disease because of synergistic interactions between infection, reduced nutritional status of the host population, and increased stress all associated with high-density situations. I recommend a surveillance program for monitoring prevalence or intensity in selected indicator age classes as a first step for preventing major disease problems in animal populations. I conclude that infection and disease will be an important determinant of the health and well-being of animal populations, and as such must be considered in the design of conservation policy. La distinción entre infección y enfermedad puede ser sutil y la detección de enfermedades en la población animal silvestre depende de la sofsticación del diseño del muestreo y las técnicas de diagnóstico usadas al examinar las poblaciones animales. El impacto de la infección en el huésped depende no solo de la patogenicidad de la infección, sino también de la interacción entre la infección y de otros factores, tales como el estado nutricional y el estrés. En este informe reviso los mecanismos mediante los cuales las infecciones parasitarias pueden influenciar la supervivencia, reproducción y los patrones de movimiento de individuos infectados. Más adelante hablo de las implicaciones para las poblaciones huéspedes en particular, con referencia al potencial de los parásitos para regular la abundancia de las poblaciones huéspedes. Las implicaciones de infecciones y enfermedades en pobalciones huéspedes son luego ampliadas para demostrar consecuencias en la estructura de la comunidad. Las dificultades asociadas con la evaluación del nivel de infección o enfermedad en la población animal silvestre son examinadas y usadas para justificar la creencia de que en las poblaciones animales silvestres las enfermedades ocurren raramente. Finalmente, las consecuencias de infecciones y enfermedades para la conservación biológica ban sido descritas. Las enfermedades son consideradas en realación con la introducción y el mantenimiento de la diversidad genética Se ha puesto el énfasis sobre los peligros asociados con forzar situaciones de alta diversidad en poblaciones animales. Una alta densidad de huéspedes conduce directamente a un incremento de enfermedades debido al aumento en las tasas de transmisión; así mismo incrementa la enfermedad indirectamente debido a la interacción sibanética entre la infección, estado nutricional reducido de la población huésped y un aumento de estrés, todos ellos factores asociados con situaciones de alta densidad. Recomiendo un programa de vigilancia para monitorear la prevalencia o intensidad en ciertas clases de edades seleccionadas como indicadores, como un primer paso para prevenir los problemas de las enfemzedades mayores en las poblaciones animales. Se concluye que las infecciones y enfermedades serán un factor determinante de importancia para la salud y el bienestar de las poblaciones animales, y como tal debe ser considerado en el diseño de las políticas de conservació.
Article
Canine distemper virus (CDV) causes a major disease of domestic dogs that develops as a serious systemic infection in unvaccinated or improperly vaccinated dogs. Domesticated dogs are the main reservoir of CDV, a multihost pathogen. This virus of the genus Morbillivirus in the family Paramyxoviridae occurs in other carnivorous species including all members of the Canidae and Mustelidae families and in some members of the Procyonidae, Hyaenidae, Ursidae, and Viverridae families. Canine distemper also has been reported in the Felidae family and marine mammals. The spread and incidences of CDV epidemics in dogs and wildlife here and worldwide are increasing.
Article
The present study was carried out in a herd with concurrent infections of Mycoplasma wenyonii and 'Candidatus M. haemobos', to investigate if transplacental and/or vector-borne transmission is possible for one or both bovine haemoplasma species. For this purpose blood samples were collected from 38 mother animals and their newborn calves; as well as from 17 uninseminated cows twice three months apart. In addition, 311 mosquitoes and blood-sucking flies (Diptera: Culicidae, Tabanidae, Muscidae) were cought near the animals. DNA was extracted from all samples, followed by real-time PCR analysis. In 10.5% of neonate calves, that were born to cows harbouring both haemoplasmas, M. wenyonii and/or 'Candidatus M. haemobos' positivity was detected. Copy numbers in positive samples from cows and their calves indicated that - in comparison with M. wenyonii - 'Candidatus M. haemobos'-bacteraemia had usually lower levels. In samples of uninseminated cows the rate of infection with the latter species decreased. These findings may explain why M. wenyonii was significantly more frequently detected in blood-sucking flies, than 'Candidatus M. haemobos'. In conclusion, molecular evidence is provided for the first time on the transplacental transmission of bovine haemoplasmas. Regarding their spread by blood-sucking arthropods, new potential vectors were identified, i.e. the horn fly (Haematobia irritans), the stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) and two species of horse flies (Tabanus bovinus, T. bromius).
Article
We present here a new version of the Arlequin program available under three different forms: a Windows graphical version (Winarl35), a console version of Arlequin (arlecore), and a specific console version to compute summary statistics (arlsumstat). The command-line versions run under both Linux and Windows. The main innovations of the new version include enhanced outputs in XML format, the possibility to embed graphics displaying computation results directly into output files, and the implementation of a new method to detect loci under selection from genome scans. Command-line versions are designed to handle large series of files, and arlsumstat can be used to generate summary statistics from simulated data sets within an Approximate Bayesian Computation framework.
Article
Objective – To describe the current understanding of the etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of feline hemotropic mycoplasmosis (feline infectious anemia). Data Sources – Manuscripts published on hemotropic mycoplasmosis in cats and other animal species, based on a search of PubMed using the search terms ‘hemoplasmas,’‘haemoplasmas,’‘hemotropic,’‘haemotropic,’ and ‘Haemobartonella,’ as well as references published within manuscripts accessed. Human Data Synthesis – Although hemotropic bacteria such as Bartonella bacilliformis have been recognized in humans for over 100 years, it has only been in recent years that some of these have been identified as hemotropic mycoplasmas. Veterinary Data Synthesis – Three species of hemotropic mycoplasmas have been documented in cats worldwide, Mycoplasma haemofelis, ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis,’ and ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum.’ These organisms were previously known as Haemobartonella felis, but are now known to be mycoplasmas. M. haemofelis is the most pathogenic species, and causes anemia in immunocompetent cats. Although ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis’ and ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum’ may be more capable of causing anemia in immunosuppressed cats, their pathogenicity remains controversial. Assays based on polymerase chain reaction technology are the most sensitive and specific diagnostic tests available for these organisms, because they remain uncultivable in the laboratory setting. Blood smears are unreliable for diagnosis of hemoplasmosis because of their lack of sensitivity and specificity. Conclusions – Cats presenting to emergency/critical care specialists with hemolytic anemia should be tested using polymerase chain reaction assays for hemotropic mycoplasmas before instituting antimicrobial therapy. Positive test results for M. haemofelis suggest involvement of this organism in hemolytic anemia. Other differential diagnoses for hemolytic anemia should be considered in cats testing positive for ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis’ and ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum,’ because the presence of these organisms is not always associated with anemia. Blood from infected cats should be handled with care because of the potential zoonotic nature of this infection.
Article
Hemoplasma (hemotropic mycoplasma) often causes hemolytic anemia in infected cats, especially those with immune suppression. An updated nationwide epidemiological survey of feline hemoplasmosis was conducted in Japan. Blood samples were collected from 1,770 outdoor-accessing cats from March to October 2008. The infections were molecularly detected by PCR analyses, which are able to distinguish Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf), `Candidatus M. haemominutum' (CMhm), and `Candidatus M. turicensis' (CMt) infections. Of the 1,770 cats, 468 cases (26.4%) revealed a single- or co-infection of feline hemoplasmas [Mhf alone, 42 cases (2.4%); CMhm alone, 280 cases (15.8%); CMt alone, 48 cases (2.7%); Mhf+CMhm, 28 cases (1.6%); Mhf+CMt, 6 cases (0.3%); CMhm+CMt, 50 cases (2.8%); Mhf+CMhm+CMt, 14 cases (0.8%)]. In addition, male gender, middle to old age, history of fight wounds, and feline immunodeficiency virus infection were shown to be risk factors for hemoplasma infection. Close attention must be paid to the acute onset of disease in feline practice because a prevalence of hemoplasma infection was detected even in clinically healthy cats.