Prevalence and Spatial Distribution ofSalmonellaInfections in the Pennsylvania Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

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A study was conducted to determine the prevalence and spatial distribution of Salmonella infection in Pennsylvania raccoons (Procyon lotor), common wildlife mammals known to occupy overlapping habitats with humans and domestic food animals. The Pennsylvania Game Commission provided a total of 371 raccoon intestinal samples from trapped and road-killed raccoons collected between May and November 2011. Salmonella was isolated from the faeces of 56 (15.1%) of 371 raccoons in 35 (54%) of 65 counties across Pennsylvania. The five most frequently isolated serotypes were Newport (28.6%), Enteritidis (19.6%), Typhimurium (10.7%), Braenderup (8.9%) and Bareilly (7.1%). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis of the Salmonella isolates and subsequent comparison to the Pennsylvania Department of Health human Salmonella PFGE database revealed 16 different pulsetypes in Salmonella isolates recovered from raccoons that were indistinguishable from pulsetypes of Salmonella collected from clinically ill humans during the study period. The pulsetypes of seven raccoon Salmonella isolates matched those of 56 human Salmonella isolates by month and geographical region of sample collection. Results from Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and Multi-Virulence Locus Sequence Typing (CRISPR-MVLST) analysis corroborated the PFGE and serotyping data. The findings of this study show that several PFGE pulsetypes of Salmonella were shared between humans and raccoons in Pennsylvania, indicating that raccoons and humans might share the same source of Salmonella.

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