Thesis

Ecto and endoparasitic prevalence in peri-domestic medium-sized mammals in Stanislaus County, California

The objectives of this study were to determine the gastro-intestinal and ectoparasite prevalence and intensity of infection in five species of medium-sized peri-domestic mammals captured in immediate proximity (3.05 m) to structures. These mammals (n=57) were collected throughout urban Stanislaus County, California from December 2006 to August 2007. Baylisascaris procyonis nematodes, causes of serious neurological pathogenesis in humans, occurred in 75% of raccoons (n = 20), with a mean intensity of 16.8 nematodes/raccoon. The raccoons also harbored fleas and ticks with known pathogen vectorial capacity. Additionally, 13 striped skunks, 14 Virginia opossum, 9 gray fox, and 1 red fox were evaluated similarly. Rates of prevalence and intensity of infection of gastro- intestinal parasites and fleas and ticks from the other mammals were calculated. No previous study has provided parasite data on these mammals in central California. The values for prevalence and intensity of the parasites, particularly B. procyonis, are of significant public health concern where direct or indirect contact with humans and domestic animals is likely.

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