Serum samples from 251 wild carnivores from different regions of Spain were tested for antibodies to Neospora caninum by the commercial competitive screening enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (c-ELISA) and confirmed by Neospora agglutination test (NAT) and/or by indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT). Samples with antibodies detected by at least two serological tests were considered seropositive. Antibodies to N. caninum were found in 3.2% of 95 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes); in 21.4% of 28 wolves (Canis lupus); in 12.0% of 25 Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus); in 16.7% of 6 European wildcats (Felis silvestris); in 6.4% of 31 Eurasian badgers (Meles meles); in 21.4% of 14 stone martens (Martes foina); in 66.7% of 3 pine martens (M. martes) and in 50% of 2 polecats (Mustela putorius). Antibodies to N. caninum in common genets (Genetta genetta) and Egyptian mongooses (Herpestes ichneumon) were only observed by c-ELISA but were not confirmed by IFAT and/or NAT. No antibodies were detected in 5 Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) by any technique. Statistically significant differences were observed among species and among geographical areas. The highest seroprevalence of N. caninum infection was observed in the Cantabric Coastal region characterized by high humidity. To our knowledge, this is the first report of antibodies to N. caninum in free ranging wild carnivores, other than wild canids, in Europe. The existence of a possible sylvatic cycle could have important implications in both sylvatic and domestic cycles since they might influence the prevalence of infection in cattle farms in those areas. © 2008 Elsevier B.V.
- Neospora caninum
- Wildlife carnivores