Sarcoptic mange in black bears (Ursus americanus) in Pennsylvania
Peltier, Sarah Knox
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There has been an increase in cases and geographic distribution of severe mange in black bears (Ursus americanus) in Pennsylvania. We evaluated several diagnostic assays for detection and identification of the mite(s) associated with bear cases. Samples from 72 black bears with mange were examined and Sarcoptes scabiei was the only mite species identified. Molecular testing of skin scrapes and full-thickness skin confirmed diagnosis. Fecal PCR testing was not useful for diagnostics. Antibodies against S. scabiei were detected in bears with mange suggesting serologic testing can be a useful epidemiologic tool. The genetic diversity of mites collected from black bears and wild canids in Pennsylvania and surrounding states indicated that the ITS-2 marker was highly conserved but two haplotypes, one bear specific was identified. The cox1 gene sequences were more variable but phylogenetic analysis failed to distinguish mites from bears from other mites from other hosts and geographic regions.