The findings show that pumas are more likely to be infected with FIV than bobcats or domestic cats. While FIV cannot be transmitted to people, it is highly contagious among felines.
The rate of Toxoplasmosis was high in pumas and bobcats across Colorado and California.
Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite that, when carried by healthy people, has no effect but that can cause complications for infants and adults with compromised immune systems.
Cats only spread Toxoplasmosis in their feces for a few weeks following infection with the parasite. Like humans, cats rarely have symptoms when first infected.
Bartonellosis is a bacterial infection also called cat scratch disease. If someone is scratched by a cat with Bartonellosis, the scratch may become infected, but the infection is usually a mild one.
Other studies underway include a fine-scale analysis of urban landscape features that affect disease incidence; evaluation of pathogen exposure and transmission in bobcats; and a survey of domestic cat owners about their attitudes toward risks for pets from wildlife.
Large-scale projects looking at movement patterns of bobcats and pumas in Colorado, and a motion-activated camera analysis of human and wildlife interactions along urban areas, are also in progress.
The take-home message, the researchers say, is that life in the wild may not be so wild after all.
|Contact: Cheryl Dybas|
National Science Foundation