Mostly Trapping

Raccoon parasite across regions of Ontario
Aug 11, 2020 07:21 ET

[Reprinted from original]

Original Title: Spatio-temporal clustering of Baylisascaris procyonis, a zoonotic parasite, in raccoons across different landscapes in southern Ontario

Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon roundworm, is a parasite found throughout North America and parts of Europe. More than 150 species of mammals and birds including humans can develop neurological disease following infection with the larval stage of this parasite. To investigate whether B. procyonis infections in raccoons cluster in space, time, or space-time, we used data from 1353 Ontario raccoons submitted to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative between 2013 and 2016. We identified a significant spatial cluster of increased infection prevalence in southern Ontario centred over a major metropolitan area, as well as a significant cluster of decreased infection prevalence in a primarily agricultural region in southwestern Ontario. Furthermore, we identified statistically significant temporal clusters in the fall in annual scans of data from 2014, 2015 and 2016. Examination of both Bernoulli and space-time permutation models for space-time analysis suggested that the purely spatial and temporal clusters were not explained by relatively short and spatially discrete events in space-time. The identified annual temporal clusters are consistent with previous research on the seasonality of B. procyonis infection in raccoons. Recognition of the spatial infection clusters will help identify potential geographic and anthropogenic factors associated with the occurrence of B. procyonis infection in raccoons. Given the zoonotic potential of this parasite, identification of a cluster of high infection prevalence in a major metropolitan area has implications for public education and risk management strategies.