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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2010 Mar;10(2):135-41. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2008.0170.

Stray dogs as reservoirs of the zoonotic agents Leptospira interrogans, Trypanosoma cruzi, and Aspergillus spp. in an urban area of Chiapas in southern Mexico.

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  • 1Departamento de Biomedicina de Enfermedades Infecciosas y Parasitarias Laboratorio de Biología Celular, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Yucatan, México.


This investigation determined the presence and prevalence of the zoonotic agents Leptospira interrogans, Trypanosoma cruzi, and Aspergillus spp. in the stray dog population (a total of 224 stray dogs) in an urban area of Southern Mexico. Blood serum samples were taken from all dogs, and root hair samples were taken from dogs with skin lesions and partial alopecia. IgG antibodies for L. interrogans from 10 serovars were detected using the microscopic agglutination test. Immunofluorescence antibody test and Western blot assay were used for serologic diagnosis of T. cruzi. The Sabouraud medium was used to isolate Aspergillus spp. Prevalence of L. interrogans was 4.9%, which was determined by identifying only serovars Pyrogenes, which accounted for 3.6%, and Tarassovi, which constituted 1.3%, with titers from 1:100 to 1:800. Additionally, T. cruzi antibodies were detected in 4.5% of the dogs. Skin lesions were found in 43% of the dogs (98/224), and 35 cultures were positive for Aspergillus spp. (35.7%, p < 0.05, 95% confidence interval 2.45-3.67), identified as A. niger (82.8%), A. flavus (14.3%), and A. terreus (2.9%). This study demonstrates the presence of certain zoonotic agents (bacteria, protozoa, and fungi) in stray dogs living within the studied area. Dogs play an important role in the transmission of diseases that are potentially harmful to humans. Although the prevalence of canine leptospirosis and trypanosomiasis is not high in Southern Mexico compared with other tropical regions of Mexico, the presence of these zoonotic agents in the stray dog population demonstrates that the stray dog population in this region is a significant reservoir and potential source of infection in humans. Special care should be taken when handling stray dogs that exhibit skin lesions with partial alopecia, since a pathological Aspergillus sp. fungus may be present.

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