Helminthes in Feral Raccoon (Procyon lotor) as an Alien Species in Iran
Background: The raccoon, Procyon lotor Linn. (Procyonidae) is native to North and Central America but has been introduced in several European and Asian countries including Japan, Germany and Iran. Objective of this study was to determine frequency of gastrointestinal and tissue helminthes from feral raccoons in Iran.
Methods: During 2015-2017, 30 feral raccoons including 12 males and 18 females were collected from Guilan Province, northern Iran (the only region in Iran where raccoons are found). The gastrointestinal tracts and tissues such as lung, liver and muscles were examined for presence of helminthes.
Results: Twenty raccoons (66.7%) were found infected with five intestinal helminth species. The prevalence of infection with Strongyloides procyonis Little, 1966 (Nematoda) was 63.3%, Plagiorchis koreanus Ogata, 1938 (Trematoda) (13.3%), Centrorhynchus sp. Lühe, 1911 (Acanthocephala) (10.0%), Camerostrongylus didelphis Wolfgang, 1951 (Nematoda) (3.3%), and Spirocerca lupi Rudolphi, 1809 (Nematoda) (3.3%). No larvae or adult worms were found in other tissues of the examined raccoons.
Conclusion: Most of the raccoons were infected with S. procyonis. The public health importance of zoonotic parasites transmittable through raccoons, the rapid control and decrease of raccoon populations and their distribution in Iran are also discussed.
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