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Appl Environ Microbiol 2017 Apr 17;83(9):e00211-17

Prevalence, genotype richness, and coinfection patterns of hemotropic mycoplasmas in raccoons (Procyon lotor) in environmentally protected and urbanized barrier islands.

Volokhov DV, Hwang J, Chizhikov VE, Danaceau H, Gottdenker NL


Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are successful urban adapters and hosts to a number of zoonotic and non-zoonotic pathogens, yet little is known about their hemoplasma infections and how prevalence differs across habitat types. This study identifies hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. infection in raccoons from urban and undisturbed habitats and compares hemoplasma infection in sympatric urban cats (Felis catus) from the same geographic region. We collected blood from raccoons (n=95) in an urban (n=37) and an undisturbed (n=58) coastal island and from sympatric urban cats (n=39) in Georgia, USA. Based on 16S rRNA gene amplification, 62.1% (59/95) of raccoons and 17.9% (7/39) of feral cats were positive for hemoplasma. There was a greater percentage of hemoplasma-infected raccoons on the undisturbed island (79.3%, 46/58) than on the urban island (35.1%, 13/37; X2=16.9, df=1, p=0.00004). Sequencing of the full-length 16S rRNA gene amplicons revealed six hemoplasma genotypes in raccoons, including five novel genotypes that were distinct from three known hemoplasma species identified in the sympatric cats. In addition, the hemoplasma genotypes detected in raccoons were not identified in sympatric cats or vice versa. Although all six hemoplasma genotypes were found in raccoons from urban and undisturbed islands, co-infection patterns differed between sites and among individuals, with the proportion of coinfected raccoons greater in the undisturbed site. This study shows that raccoons are hosts for several novel hemoplasmas and that habitat type influences infection patterns IMPORTANCE: This study provides information about novel hemoplasmas identified in raccoons (Procyon lotor), which can be used for the assessment of the prevalence of these hemoplasmas in raccoon populations and for future studies on potential pathogenic impacts of these hemoplasmas on raccoon health. Raccoons from the undisturbed habitat had higher prevalence of hemoplasma infection than urban raccoons. There does not appear to be cross-species transmission of hemotropic mycoplasmas between urban raccoons and feral cats. Raccoons appear to be hosts for several novel hemoplasmas and habitat type influences infection patterns.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #28258139 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00211-17
PubMed Central ID: #PMC5394313
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2014-02-18 Entry Last Modified: 2017-05-23