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Molecular survey of Besnoitia spp. (Apicomplexa) in faeces from European wild mesocarnivores in Spain.
  • +11
  • David González-Barrio,
  • Pamela C. Köster,
  • Miguel Habela,
  • Manuel Martín-Pérez,
  • José Fernández-García,
  • Ana Balseiro,
  • Marta Barrel,
  • Fernando Najera,
  • Ana Figueiredo,
  • María Jesús Palacios,
  • MARTA Mateo,
  • David Carmena,
  • Gema Alvarez-Garcia,
  • Rafael Calero-Bernal
David González-Barrio
UCM
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Pamela C. Köster
Spanish National Centre for Microbiology
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Miguel Habela
Universidad de Extremadura
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Manuel Martín-Pérez
5Department of Animal Health, Veterinary Sciences Faculty, Extremadura University, Av. de la Universidad s/n, 10003, Cáceres, Spain
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José Fernández-García
Universidad de Extremadura
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Ana Balseiro
Universidad de León Facultad de Veterinaria
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Marta Barrel
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Fernando Najera
9Directorate-General for Environment, Regional Government of Extremadura, Luis Jacinto Ramallo García s/n, 06800, Mérida, Badajoz, Spain.
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Ana Figueiredo
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María Jesús Palacios
9Directorate-General for Environment, Regional Government of Extremadura, Luis Jacinto Ramallo García s/n, 06800, Mérida, Badajoz, Spain.
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MARTA Mateo
12Veterinary Faculty, Alfonso X El Sabio University, Avenida Universidad 1, 28691, Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
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David Carmena
Spanish National Centre for Microbiology
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Gema Alvarez-Garcia
Universidad Complutense de Madrid Facultad de Veterinaria
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Rafael Calero-Bernal
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
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Abstract

Numerous studies have unsuccessfully tried to unravel the definitive host of the coccidian parasite Besnoitia besnoiti. Cattle infections by B. besnoiti cause a chronic and debilitating condition called bovine besnoitiosis that has emerged in Europe during the last two decades, mainly due to limitations in its control associated to the absence of vaccines and therapeutical tools. Although the exact transmission pathway of B. besnoiti is currently unknown, it is assumed that the parasite might have an indirect life cycle with a carnivore as definitive host. Current lack of studies in wildlife might underestimate the importance of free-living species in the epidemiology of B. besnoiti. Thus, the aim of the present study is to assess the presence of Besnoitia spp. in free-ranging mesocarnivores in Spain. DNA was searched by PCR on faeces collected from wild carnivores as a first approach to determine which species could be considered as potential candidates for definitive hosts in further research. For this purpose, a total of 352 faecal samples from 12 free-living wild carnivore species belonging to the Canidae, Felidae, Herpestidae, Mustelidae, Procyonidae, and Viverridae families were collected in seven Spanish regions. PCR testing showed that Besnoitia spp. DNA was present in four faecal samples from red foxes collected in western Spain, an area with the greatest density of extensively reared cattle and associated to high incidence of bovine besnoitiosis in the country. To date, this is the first report of a Besnoitia besnoiti-like sequence (99.57% homology) from carnivore faeces in a worldwide context. Red foxes might contribute to the epidemiology of B. besnoiti, although further studies, mostly based on bioassay, would be needed to elucidate the accuracy and extent of these interesting findings.

Peer review status:Published

18 Feb 2021Submitted to Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
19 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
19 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
21 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
01 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
26 Jun 2021Published in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. 10.1111/tbed.14206