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Reinhardt, Nico P.; Köster, Judith; Thomas, Astrid; Arnold, Janosch; Fux, Robert; Straubinger, Reinhard K. (2023): Bacterial and Viral Pathogens with One Health Relevance in Invasive Raccoons (Procyon lotor, Linné 1758) in Southwest Germany. Pathogens, 12 (3): 389. ISSN 2076-0817

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Abstract

In Europe, raccoons are invasive neozoons with their largest population in Germany. Globally, this mesocarnivore acts as a wildlife reservoir for many (non-)zoonotic (re-)emerging pathogens, but very little epidemiological data is available for southwest Germany. This exploratory study aimed to screen free-ranging raccoons in Baden-Wuerttemberg (BW, Germany) for the occurrence of selected pathogens with One Health relevance. Organ tissue and blood samples collected from 102 animals, obtained by hunters in 2019 and 2020, were subsequently analysed for two bacterial and four viral pathogens using a qPCR approach. Single samples were positive for the carnivore protoparvovirus-1 (7.8%, n = 8), canine distemper virus (6.9%, n = 7), pathogenic Leptospira spp. (3.9%, n = 4) and Anaplasma phagocytophilum (15.7%, n = 16). West Nile virus and influenza A virus were not detected. Due to their invasive behaviour and synanthropic habit, raccoons may increase the risk of infections for wildlife, domestic animals, zoo animals and humans by acting as a link between them. Therefore, further studies should be initiated to evaluate these risks.

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