Prevalence of dermatophytes and other superficial fungal organisms in asymptomatic guinea pigs in Southern Italy

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Abstract

Objectives:

Guinea pigs have been indicated as a potential source of zoophilic dermatophytes that cause human dermatomycosis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of dermatophytes as well as saprophytic fungi in asymptomatic pet guinea pigs in Southern Italy.

Methods:

Two-hundred pet guinea pigs were enrolled from both private veterinary clinics and pet shops in the Campania region, Italy, from August 2012 to September 2013. Samples were collected using the MacKenzie's toothbrush technique. The plates were incubated for four weeks at 25°C and identification of the fungal colonies was based on both macroscopic and microscopic characteristics.

Results:

Two pathogenic dermatophytes were isolated in 9 (4·5%) of 200 guinea pigs;Epidermophytonspecies in 2 (1%) andScopulariopsisspecies in 7 (3·5%). Saprophytic dermatophytes were isolated from 151 (75·5%) animals enrolled. No fungal growth was observed in 40 (20%) guinea pigs.

Clinical Significance:

The results of this study indicate a low prevalence of pathogenic dermatophytes in pet guinea pigs in Southern Italy but the presence ofEpidermophytonandScopulariopsisspecies in asymptomatic pet guinea pigs.

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