Infectious diseases by pathogens, including those of zoonotic concern, may act as a primary or contributory cause of threat to wildlife conservation and may represent a risk for human health, mainly for people working at, or visiting the zoological parks. Given the paucity of data on pathogens infecting wild tigers, we investigated the occurrence of infectious agents in this animal species, with a special focus on those of zoonotic concern. Blood and serum samples from tigers (n = 20) living in a wildlife safari park of southern Italy were screened by serological and molecular tests. All animals scored positive for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii (100%), whereas they displayed different prevalence of seropositivity for Rickettsia conorii (30%), Bartonella henselae (15%) and Leptospira interrogans sv Icterohaemorrhagiae and/or Leptospira kirschneri sv Grippotyphosa (15%). No antibodies against Coxiella burnetii were detected. In addition, 8 tigers (40%) tested molecularly positive to “Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum”, and 3 (15%) to Hepatozoon canis. No DNA of R. conorii, Bartonella spp., Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp. and piroplasmids was amplified. The occurrence of tiger infections by bacteria and parasites may represent a risk for morbidity and, in some circumstances, mortality in this endangered species and a source of infection for other animals, including humans. These findings indicate that the circulation of zoonotic pathogens such as T. gondii, R. conorii, L. interrogans sv Icterohaemorrhagiae, "Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum" and B. henselae in given environments may represent a relevant health issue considering the close association among animals and humans visiting, or working at, the wildlife safari park. Preventative measures are advocated in order to control ectoparasites and other sources of infection (e.g., small rodents), thus for minimizing the risk of infection for animals as well as for humans.

Zoonotic and vector-borne pathogens in tigers from a wildlife safari park, Italy

Roberta Iatta;Andrea Zatelli;Maria Alfonsa Cavalera;Domenico Otranto
2020

Abstract

Infectious diseases by pathogens, including those of zoonotic concern, may act as a primary or contributory cause of threat to wildlife conservation and may represent a risk for human health, mainly for people working at, or visiting the zoological parks. Given the paucity of data on pathogens infecting wild tigers, we investigated the occurrence of infectious agents in this animal species, with a special focus on those of zoonotic concern. Blood and serum samples from tigers (n = 20) living in a wildlife safari park of southern Italy were screened by serological and molecular tests. All animals scored positive for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii (100%), whereas they displayed different prevalence of seropositivity for Rickettsia conorii (30%), Bartonella henselae (15%) and Leptospira interrogans sv Icterohaemorrhagiae and/or Leptospira kirschneri sv Grippotyphosa (15%). No antibodies against Coxiella burnetii were detected. In addition, 8 tigers (40%) tested molecularly positive to “Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum”, and 3 (15%) to Hepatozoon canis. No DNA of R. conorii, Bartonella spp., Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp. and piroplasmids was amplified. The occurrence of tiger infections by bacteria and parasites may represent a risk for morbidity and, in some circumstances, mortality in this endangered species and a source of infection for other animals, including humans. These findings indicate that the circulation of zoonotic pathogens such as T. gondii, R. conorii, L. interrogans sv Icterohaemorrhagiae, "Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum" and B. henselae in given environments may represent a relevant health issue considering the close association among animals and humans visiting, or working at, the wildlife safari park. Preventative measures are advocated in order to control ectoparasites and other sources of infection (e.g., small rodents), thus for minimizing the risk of infection for animals as well as for humans.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/262429
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 3
  • Scopus 3
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact