Abstract

Parasitic protists of the genus Cytauxzoon are detected in a wide range of wild and domestic felids. Bobcats are a confirmed reservoir of Cytauxzoon felis in North America while domestic cats are susceptible hosts suffering from severe or fatal illness. Cytauxzoon infections are mainly reported from American felids and, recently, several sub-clinical and clinical findings were reported from European, Asian, and African felids. In 2014, the collection of organs of 4 Eurasian lynx and 12 wild cats from 11 Romanian localities was carried out to determine the prevalence and genetic diversity of Cytauxzoon spp. We detected an overall high prevalence of 62.5% in both species of wild felids; 50% in wild cats and 100% in Eurasian lynx. The phylogenetic analysis indicates 2 distinct clades of Cytauxzoon in felids, with all of our sequences clustering with sequences of Cytauxzoon sp./Cytauxzoon manul from Palaearctic felids. Further studies, development of new genetic markers, and experimental transmission studies are required for clarifying the taxonomy and life cycle of feline Cytauxzoon in the Old World.

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