A survey of hemoparasites and ectoparasites in Nasua nasua Linnaeus, 1766 with a redescription of Hepatozoon procyonis Richards, 1961 based on morphological and molecular data
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Hemoparasites are vector-borne parasites that infect wild carnivores worldwide. Since data on hemoparasite infections in Nasua nasua from Brazil are lacking, the aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of hemoparasites and ectoparasites in N. nasua from different areas of Brazil. Blood samples and ectoparasites from 83 N. nasua were collected in Botucatu, Palmital, and São Paulo municipalities. Samples were screened via microscopy and molecular methods to detect hemoparasites. Tissues from two N. nasua were obtained for histopathological and molecular analyses. All 83 samples were negative for piroplasms on morphological and molecular examination. Thin blood smears of nine animals were positive for Hepatozoon gamonts. The gamonts shared morphological characteristics of Hepatozoon procyonis. Meronts were detected in the liver and spleen tissue of one animal. Twenty-one blood samples and four tissue samples were PCR positive for Hepatozoon sp. The sequences obtained were 97% identical to those of Hepatozoon felis, Hepatozoon ursi, and Hepatozoon sp. Based on searches for similarity and morphology, we identified the sequences as belonging to H. procyonis. This study provides epidemiological data on hemoparasite infections and redescribe H. procyonis based on morphological, morphometrical, and molecular analyses.
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