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New insights into the morphology, molecular characterization and identification of Baylisascaris transfuga (Ascaridida, Ascarididae)

Testini, G., Papini, R., Lia, R.P., Parisi, A., Dantas-Torres, F., Traversa, D., Otranto, D.
Veterinary parasitology 2011 v.175 no.1-2 pp. 97-102
Baylisascaris, Procyon lotor, Ursus maritimus, cytochrome-c oxidase, digestive system diseases, feces, hosts, humans, internal transcribed spacers, larva migrans, ribosomal DNA, zoos, Italy
Species ranked within the genus Baylisascaris (Ascaridida, Ascarididae) have been implicated in clinical and subclinical intestinal diseases in their natural hosts (e.g., raccoons and bears) as well as in life-threatening larva migrans syndromes in a number of incidental hosts, including humans. Following the diagnosis of Baylisascaris transfuga infestation in two captive polar bears, living in the zoo park of Pistoia (Tuscany, Italy), nematodes (n=300; both sexes) have been characterized by morphological and molecular methods by sequencing and analysing ribosomal (large ribosomal DNA (28S) and internal transcribed spacer region 1 and 2 (ITSs)) and mitochondrial (cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 2 (cox2)) target regions. In addition, seven faecal samples were collected from the animal enclosure and submitted to copromicroscopic and molecular examination. All nematodes were morphologically identified as B. transfuga and their main distinctive features are here presented. No variation in size and nucleotide polymorphisms was detected within each target sequence among all samples analysed. These data contribute to facilitate an accurate diagnosis of this little known nematode infestation in order to apply appropriate anthelmintic strategies.