Abstract

Macracanthorhynchus ingens is an acanthocephalan parasite commonly found in raccoons (Procyon lotor) in the United States. Little is known, however, about the prevalence and distribution of M. ingens in raccoons in Canada. Our objective was to investigate the prevalence, distribution, and risk factors associated with M. ingens infection in raccoons in southern Ontario, Canada. Raccoon carcasses submitted to the Ontario/Nunavut region of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative for post mortem from June 2016 to January 2017 (n = 380) were examined for the presence of gastrointestinal helminths. Macracanthorhynchus ingens was found in raccoons from areas across southern Ontario where carcasses were submitted. The prevalence of M. ingens in our sample was 14.0% (95% CI = 10.6–17.8) with a median of 4 worms per infected host (range 1–46). Univariable logistic regression modeling was conducted to examine the influence of age, sex, season, degree of urbanization (urban/suburban/rural), and Baylisascaris procyonis infection on the presence of M. ingens. Significant associations were found between M. ingens infection and degree of urbanization as well as B. procyonis infection. No associations were found between M. ingens infection and age, sex, or season. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the prevalence and distribution of M. ingens in raccoons in Canada.

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