Veterinarians from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the State Institute of Animal Health (IAGRO) in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil have conducted one of the first health assessments of white-lipped peccaries (medium-sized pig-like animals) in Brazil's Pantanal. The study was an effort to gauge the impact of Leptospirosisa zoonotic bacteria that affects a wide range of animals as well as humanson wildlife and livestock.
The studyconducted between 2003 and 2005 in a region of the Pantanal undergoing increasing land-use change and habitat fragmentation has shed light on the prevalence of Leptospirosis in free-ranging populations of white-lipped peccaries, an important step in understanding the risks to wildlife and livestock.
The study appears in a recent issue of Tropical Animal Health and Production. The authors include: Tatiana P. Tavares de Freitas, Alexine Keuroghlian, Donald P. Eaton, Flavia Miranda, and Jos Virgilio B. Lima of the Wildlife Conservation Society; L. Nakazato, and V. Dutra of Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso; E.B. de Freitas, A. Figueiredo, J.M. de Oliveira, R.C.S. Paes, L.A.R.C. Monteiro, and A.A. da C. Neto of Agencia Estadual de Defesa Sanitaria Animal e Vegetal de Mato Grosso do Sul (IAGRO); and J.C. de Freitas of Departmento de Medicina Veterinaria Preventiva, Universidade Estadual de Londrina.
Transmission of Leptospirosis and other diseases from wild to domestic animals can threaten the integrity of food safety and human health. Conversely, the movement of pathogens from domestic animals to wildlife such as peccaries may adversely impact the health of that species and the ecosystem it shapes. In cattle, the disease can cause miscarriages, reduce milk output, induce weight loss, and cause death. Humans can also contract the disease through water contaminated by the urine of infected animals.
Researchers found that 55 white-lipped peccaries (70 percent of the anima
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Wildlife Conservation Society