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Trypanosoma cruzi in Wild Raccoons and Opossums in North Carolina

Verena Karsten, Cheryl Davis and Raymond Kuhn
The Journal of Parasitology
Vol. 78, No. 3 (Jun., 1992), pp. 547-549
DOI: 10.2307/3283667
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3283667
Page Count: 3
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Trypanosoma cruzi in Wild Raccoons and Opossums in North Carolina
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Abstract

Trypanosoma cruzi was isolated from 1 of 12 (8.3%) opossums and 3 of 20 (15%) raccoons from the piedmont area of North Carolina. Although T. cruzi has been isolated previously from wild mammals in the southern United States, the present study is the first published report of naturally occurring T. cruzi infection of wild mammals in North Carolina. All 4 isolates were maintained successfully in axenic culture and in murine fibroblasts. In addition, intraperitoneal injection of 1 × 106 culture forms of 1 of the opossum isolates into C3H mice resulted in low but detectable parasitemias as early as day 6 of infection. These mice resolved parasitemia and survived infection. Intraperitoneal injection of 1 × 106 culture forms of a raccoon isolate resulted in the death of 3 out of 4 mice. Surprisingly, parasitemias were never detected in the peripheral blood of these mice. Infection of murine fibroblasts in vitro resulted in the presence of intracelullar amastigote stages characteristic of T. cruzi.

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