Conservation and Trapping Science

Pathogens in Eurasian Beaver in the Netherlands
Mar 7, 2022 16:28 ET

Abstract

Successful repopulation programs of Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) have resulted in an increase in beaver populations throughout Europe. This may be of public health relevance because beavers can host multiple zoonotic pathogens. From March 2018 to March 2020, opportunistic testing of dead beavers was performed for hepatitis E virus, orthohantavirus, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Bartonella spp., extended-spectrum-betalactamase or AmpC (ESBL/AmpC-)-producing Enterobacteriaceae, Francisella tularensis, Leptospira spp., Neoehrlichia mikurensis, Babesia spp., Echinococcus multilocularis, Toxoplasma gondii, and Trichinella spp. From the 24 beavers collected, three zoonotic pathogens were detected. One beaver was positive for T. gondii, one was positive for ESBL/AmpC-producing Enterobacteriaceae, and one was positive for N. mikurensis. The latter finding indicates that beavers can be bitten by Ixodes ricinus and be exposed to tick-borne pathogens. The detected ESBL/AmpC-gene was blaCMY-2 in an Escherichia coli ST6599. The findings suggest that the role of beavers in the spread of zoonotic diseases in the Netherlands is currently limited.

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