Laís Verdan DibOswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil
Title: Non-invasive sampling strategies to study free-living wild mammals and gastrointestinal parasites
Introduction: The non-invasive sampling is a strategy in which biological samples are obtained without any manipulation of the animal. Noninvasive samples are traces left by the animals in the environment, including hairs and loose feathers, feces, and other remnants of the diet. In conservation areas, the collection of feces in a non- invasive manner is one of the most cost-effective strategies for free-living wild mammals’ surveillance, since information about animal taxonomy and the dynamics of gastrointestinal parasites that potentially infect these hosts can be analyzed. In this context, this study aimed to perform an epidemiological survey of gastrointestinal parasites using non-invasive fecal samples from carnivores and artiodactyls in Itatiaia National Park, Brazil. Methodology: The host species were identified through macroscopic, trichological examinations and DNA analysis. Parasite structures were diagnosed by Faust, Lutz, modified Ritchie and Sheather techniques. Also, enzyme immunoassays were used to detect Cryptosporidium sp. antigens. Results: A total of 244 feces were collected. The species identified were Chrysocyon brachyurus, Leopardus guttulus, Canis familiaris, Cerdocyon thous, Puma yagouaroundi, Leopardus pardalis, Puma concolor, and Sus scrofa after associating all three identification methodologies. There were 81.1% positive samples for parasites through the combination of microscopic parasitological techniques and ELISA. Ascarid and Diphyllobothriidae eggs were the most diagnosed parasite in carnivore feces (33.3% and 24.1 respectively) while Cryptosporidium antigens and Balantioides coli were mainly detected in artiodactyl samples (87.1% and 19.4% respectively). Polyparasitism was observed in 94 samples (38.5%). Conclusion: It was possible to ensure the presence of carnivores and an artiodactyl in the park and to detect a high richness and diversity of parasites. It is important to highlight that several parasites observed have the potential for zoonotic transmission. Therefore, non-invasive sampling is a great option to keep constant monitoring on infectious biological agents in the park and on the fauna.
Laís Dib is a professor of Parasitology at Campos Medicine College and PhD student in Tropical Medicine Program at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil. She has master’s degree in the Applied Microbiology and Parasitology Program of Fluminense Federal University. She has several publications and collaborations in studies on the non-invasive sampling, diagnosis and in vitro culture of gastrointestinal parasites of wild mammals’ feces.