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First report of a mixed infection of Trichinella nelsoni and Trichinella T8 in a leopard (Panthera pardus) from the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa

First report of a mixed infection of Trichinella nelsoni and Trichinella T8 in a leopard (Panthera pardus) from the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa

Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 81(1): E1-E3

ISSN/ISBN: 0030-2465

PMID: 25686214

At least three Trichinella species, namely Trichinella nelsoni, Trichinella britovi and Trichinella zimbabwensis, and one genotype (Trichinella T8), have been isolated from sylvatic carnivores on the African continent. With the exception of T. britovi, the other species are known to circulate in wildlife of the Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa, and KNP neighbouring game reserves (collectively known as the greater KNP area). Lions (Panthera leo) and spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) appear to be the most important reservoirs of T. nelsoni and Trichinella T8 in the KNP and surrounding areas. Interspecies predation between lions and hyenas has been implicated as a primary mode of maintaining the life cycles of these two Trichinella species. This is the first report of a mixed natural infection of T. nelsoni and Trichinella T8 in a leopard (Panthera pardus) from South Africa. Trichinella muscle larvae were identified to species level by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Probable sources of infection, based on the known dietary preference and prey species' range of leopards, are also discussed. The described occurrence of Trichinella species in a leopard from the greater KNP area raises the question of possible sources of infection for this predator species.

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