Serologic and blood culture survey of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in four canine populations of southern Louisiana

Stephen C. Barr From the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology (Barr, Klei) and Veterinary Science (Dennis), College of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.

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 BVSc, PhD
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Vida A. Dennis From the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology (Barr, Klei) and Veterinary Science (Dennis), College of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.

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 PhD
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Thomas R. Klei From the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology (Barr, Klei) and Veterinary Science (Dennis), College of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.

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SUMMARY

Blood culture and serologic testing were used to study the prevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in a group of 85 dogs from southern Louisiana rural environment. These dogs were known to have been in contact with wild mammalian hosts of the hemoflagellate. Results were compared with blood culture and serologic test results in 103 dogs from a rural environment and with limited known wild mammalian T cruzi host contact. Serologic test results for the 188 dogs from the rural environment were compared with results for 176 dogs from an urban animal shelter and for 100 household pet dogs from an urban southern Louisiana environment. Blood culture was not performed on urban dogs. Culture results were negative in all dogs from rural environments. Serologic evidence of infection was obtained for 4 of the 85 (4.7%) dogs of rural environment with known host contact. Of 176 dogs from the animal shelter, 4 (2.3%) had high antibody titer to T cruzi, and 11 others had low titer (< 2 adjusted elisa units [aEU]). Two and 4 dogs of the housed urban and rural groups, respectively, had antibody titer to T cruzi that was < 2 aEU. Results indicate that prevalence for exposure to T cruzi antigen is higher in dogs with high potential contact with the vector and wild mammalian hosts of T cruzi, whether they are from rural or urban environment. Furthermore, results indicate that similar studies on high-risk human populations may be indicated.

SUMMARY

Blood culture and serologic testing were used to study the prevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in a group of 85 dogs from southern Louisiana rural environment. These dogs were known to have been in contact with wild mammalian hosts of the hemoflagellate. Results were compared with blood culture and serologic test results in 103 dogs from a rural environment and with limited known wild mammalian T cruzi host contact. Serologic test results for the 188 dogs from the rural environment were compared with results for 176 dogs from an urban animal shelter and for 100 household pet dogs from an urban southern Louisiana environment. Blood culture was not performed on urban dogs. Culture results were negative in all dogs from rural environments. Serologic evidence of infection was obtained for 4 of the 85 (4.7%) dogs of rural environment with known host contact. Of 176 dogs from the animal shelter, 4 (2.3%) had high antibody titer to T cruzi, and 11 others had low titer (< 2 adjusted elisa units [aEU]). Two and 4 dogs of the housed urban and rural groups, respectively, had antibody titer to T cruzi that was < 2 aEU. Results indicate that prevalence for exposure to T cruzi antigen is higher in dogs with high potential contact with the vector and wild mammalian hosts of T cruzi, whether they are from rural or urban environment. Furthermore, results indicate that similar studies on high-risk human populations may be indicated.

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