Trichophyton erinaceiin pet hedgehogs in Spain: Occurrence and revision of its taxonomic status

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Abstract

Hedgehogs have increased in popularity as pets in Spain but there are no data of infection rates of this exotic animal with dermatophytes in our country. During the period of 2008–2011 a total of 20 pet hedgehogs (19 African pygmy hedgehogs and 1 Egyptian long-eared hedgehog) suspected of having dermatophytoses were studied. This is the first survey of the occurrence of T. erinacei in household hedgehogs in Spain. The T. erinacei infection rate was 50% (9 out of 19 African pygmy hedgehogs, and the one Egyptian long-eared hedgehog surveyed). Morphological identification of the isolates was confirmed by molecular analysis. All the strains had the same ITS sequence and showed 100% sequence similarity to T. erinacei type strain CBS 511.73 (AB 105793). The Spanish isolates were confirmed as T. erinacei urease positive. On the basis of ITS sequences, T. erinacei is a species close to but separate from the taxa included in the A. benhamiae complex. Review of the current literature on DNA-based methods for identification of species included in this complex has highlighted the urgent need to reach a consensus in species circumscription and classification system accepted by all mycologists.

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