Trichinella species are zoonotic nematodes that infect wild carnivores and omnivores throughout the world. We examined the prevalence and species of Trichinella infections in cougars (Puma concolor couguar) from Colorado, United States. Tongues from cougars were examined by pepsin-HCl artificial digestion to detect Trichinella spp. larvae. The species or genotype of individual worms was identified by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Trichinella spp. larvae were detected in 17 of 39 cougars (43.6% (28.7-59.5%)). Five of the cougars (12.8%) were infected with T. murrelli, 3 (7.7%) were infected with T. pseudospiralis, and 1 (2.6%) had Trichinella genotype T6. Trichinella spp. larvae from eight cougars were not identified at the species level, due to degraded DNA. The high prevalence of Trichinella spp. in cougars from Colorado and reports of the parasite in other populations of Puma spp. suggest that this large predator is a key mammalian reservoir.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology