Paracoccidioides brasiliensisinfection in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

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SummaryThe objective of this study was to evaluate the infection of domestic rabbits by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Initially two rabbits were experimentally infected with P. brasiliensis and the humoral immune response was evaluated by ELISA using gp43 as antigen. The two animals showed IgG response against gp43 although no signs of disease were observed. The seroepidemiological study was carried out in 170 rabbits (free range n = 81 and caged n = 89) living in an endemic area for human paracoccidioidomycosis and a positivity of 27% was observed in the ELISA using gp43 as antigen. The free-range rabbits showed a significantly higher positivity (34.6–51.7%) than the caged animals (11.1%). Sentinel rabbits exposed to natural infection with P. brasiliensis were followed up for 6 months and a seroconversion rate of 83.3% was observed. This is the first report of paracoccidioidomycosis in rabbits and suggests that this species can be useful sentinels for P. brasiliensis presence in the environment.

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