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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2011 Apr;11(4):349-54. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2010.0052. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Molecular survey of Anaplasma and Ehrlichia infections of feral raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Hokkaido, Japan.

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United Graduate School of Veterinary Sciences, Gifu University, Gifu, Japan.


Infection by Anaplasma and Ehrlichia in feral raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Hokkaido, Japan, was examined by molecular methods. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screen for Anaplasmataceae, based on 16S rRNA, showed that 38 (5.4%) of 699 raccoons examined were positive. These 38 positive samples were examined for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Anaplasma bovis, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, and Ehrlichia canis infection by species-specific nested PCR. Nested PCR results indicated that 36 of the 38 samples were positive for A. bovis. All 38 samples were PCR negative for A. phagocytophilum, E. chaffeensis, and E. canis. This is the first report of the detection of A. bovis in the peripheral blood of raccoons. A total of 124 raccoons were infested with ticks, including Ixodes ovatus, Ixodes persulcatus, and Haemaphysalis spp. The rate of A. bovis infection in raccoons infested with Haemaphysalis spp. (46.7%, 7/15) was significantly higher than that in raccoons without Haemaphysalis spp. infestation (3.7%, 4/109, pā€‰<ā€‰0.001). No significant differences were observed in A. bovis infection rates between raccoons infested with I. ovatus or I. persulcatus and those not so infested. A total of four ticks (two males and two nymphs) and one larval pools from four raccoons showed positive for A. bovis-specific nested PCR. This results support the correlation between the A. bovis infection of raccoons and Haemaphysalis infestation. In conclusion, raccoons could be possible reservoir animals for A. bovis, and A. bovis infection in raccoons may be related to infestation with Haemaphysalis spp.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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