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Serologic evidence of Yersinia pestis infection in small mammals and bears from a temperate rainforest of north coastal California



Serologic evidence of Yersinia pestis infection in small mammals and bears from a temperate rainforest of north coastal California



Journal of Wildlife Diseases 25(1): 52-60



From 1983 to 1985, 463 serum samples from 11 species of mammals in Redwood National Park, California, USA, were evaluated for antibodies to Y. pestis by the passive haemagglutination method. Y. pestis antibodies occurred in serum samples from 25 (36%) of 69 black bears (Ursus americanus), 1 (50%) of 2 raccoons (Procyon lotor), 5 (3%) of 170 dusky woodrats (Neotoma fuscipes) and one (<1%) of 118 deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus). 273 flea pools, consisting of 14 species of fleas (including Orchopeas sexdentatus cascadensis, Opisodasys keeni, Atyphloceras multidentatus, Catallagia sculleni sculleni and Rhadinopsylla sectilis goodi), were collected from small mammals and woodrat nest cups. Viable Y. pestis were not isolated from any of the flea pools. Significant between-year variations in the frequencies of seropositive bear or small mammal sera were not observed. A significant higher frequency of plague agent antibodies was observed in bear sera during September collections. Frequencies of seropositive bear sera did not vary significantly by sex or age group of bears. Significant differences were not observed in the frequencies of seropositive small mammals by forest habitat type in which they were captured. This is the first report of Y. pestis infection in Redwood National Park, and the first detailed report of Y. pestis activity in a temperate rainforest.

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Accession: 002219341

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 2915403

DOI: 10.7589/0090-3558-25.1.52



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