Abstract

American trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis are caused by related hemoflagellate parasites, Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania spp., which share several common host species. Both zoonotic protozoans are endemic in the United States. Canines, including domestic and wild canids, are reservoir hosts for human infections with T. cruzi and Leishmania spp. The present study examined the seroprevalence of T. cruzi and Leishmania spp. in wild canids from North Carolina and Virginia. Wild canine species tested in this work included 49 gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and 5 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Overall, sera samples from 54 foxes (North Carolina  =  43; Virginia  =  11) were tested by immunochromatographic strip assays (ICT). Antibodies to T. cruzi were found in 4 (9%) gray foxes from North Carolina and 2 (18%) gray foxes from Virginia. Antibodies to Leishmania spp. were detected in 1 (2%) gray fox from North Carolina. Our results indicate that wild canids are exposed more frequently to T. cruzi in North Carolina than Leishmania spp. and only T. cruzi in Virginia.

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