Raccoons As an Important Reservoir for Trypanosoma cruzi: A Prevalence Study from Two Metropolitan Areas in Louisiana

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Vector borne and zoonotic diseases


Raccoons are an important reservoir for Trypanosoma cruzi infection, having been reported to maintain a high and lengthy parasitemia. Although raccoon populations have historically been abundant in Louisiana, the prevalence rate of T. cruzi infection in raccoons in this state is unknown. Here, we tested raccoon tissues from two urban areas in Louisiana, namely Orleans Parish (OP) and East Baton Rouge Parish (EBRP), to investigate prevalence in these areas using direct detection through polymerase chain reaction. Overall, 33.6% of raccoons tested were positive. The prevalence in OP (42.9%) was significantly higher than the prevalence in EBRP (23.2%). There was no significant difference in prevalence between sexes or based on age, but there was a significant difference in infection prevalence based on season of trapping. These results suggest the importance of raccoons as a reservoir host, maintaining T. cruzi infection and potentially posing a risk to human health.

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