Survey of Baylisascaris spp. in zoo-animals in the Netherlands.
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Objectives: Baylisascaris species are large zoonotic roundworms of raccoons, bears and skunks. This study investigates the presence of Baylisascaris species in Dutch zoo animals. Method: From eight public zoos 28 fecal samples were collected from 20 different animal populations susceptible for Baylisascaris spp. For 14 populations information on roundworm infections was provided using questionnaires. Results: Baylisascaris spp. ova were recovered from 3 samples. All positive stool samples derived from one zoo and a total of 9 Baylisascaris eggs were isolated from both Ursus arctus (brown bear) and Nasua nasua (coati) feces. The eggs were identified as B.transfuga by molecular characterization. The clinical history revealed that Baylisascaris infections in zoo animals was documented earlier. Conclusion: Baylisascaris parasites are prevalent in Dutch zoos and because of the zoonotic potential, constant vigilance by animal care takers and veterinarians is advised.