The nematode Baylisascaris procyonis, which may cause severe clinical disease in humans and animals, is emerging in Europe after its introduction with raccoons (Procyon lotor) from North America. B. procyonis has a broad spectrum of paratenic hosts, including rodents, birds, wild carnivores and primates, which are severely affected by the migrating larval stages of the parasite. We report here the recovery of B. procyonis from two out of 18 examined wild raccoons in Denmark. The parasites were identified based on morphology and their identity was confirmed by partial sequencing of the 18S rRNA gene. Follow-up telephone interviews of staffs in nine zoos housing captive raccoons and veterinarians supervising these zoos showed that knowledge of B. procyonis and its zoonotic potential were sparse. Eggs of B. procyonis were detected in two raccoons kept in one of three zoos that submitted fecal samples following the telephone interviews. Continuous monitoring and increased awareness are needed to reduce further spread of the parasite and to limit the public health risks associated with baylisascariasis.
Bibliographical noteUnder a Creative Commons license
- Baylisascaris procyonis
- Invasive species