Distribution, prevalence, and genetic characterization of Baylisascaris procyonis in selected areas of Georgia and Florida
Blizzard, Emily Lauren
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Baylisascaris procyonis an intestinal nematode commonly found in raccoons (Procyon lotor) can cause fatal larval migrans in numerous species of mammals, birds, and humans. This study investigated the distribution and prevalence of B. procyonis in populations of raccoons in Georgia and Florida. Intestinal tracts of 312 raccoons from 25 Georgia counties and 52 raccoons from three Florida counties were examined for B. procyonis. B. procyonis was detected in Clarke County where 12 of 116 (10.3%) raccoons were infected and 11 B. procyonis worms were collected from northern Florida. Sequence analysis of the 18S and 5.8S rRNA genes and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-1 and -2 regions confirmed Georgia samples were B. procyonis. These data indicate that the distribution of B. procyonis within Georgia is increasing and now present in Florida. Limited genetic variability was found in the rRNA and ITS gene regions among B. procyonis from the southern United States.