Enright, J. B. (Dept. of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Univ. of Calif., Davis, Calif. 95616), C. E. Franti, D. E. Behymer, W. M. Longhurst, V. J. Dutson and M. E. Wright. Coxiella burneti in a wildlife-livestock environment; distribution of Q fever in wild mammals. Amer J Epidem 94: 79–90, 1971—Q fever was studied in the wild mammal fauna of the area on and around the Hopland Field Station in Mendocino County, California. Based on detectable phase II complement-fixing serum antibodies, there was evidence of exposure to Coxiella burneti in 17 of 21 species tested. The highest prevalence was in coyotes (78%), foxes (55%) and brush rabbits (53%). The lowest was in grey squirrels (6%), wood rats (3%) and kangaroo rats (2%). Deer had a prevalence of 22% and the prevalence of antibody in wild mice (peromyscus) ranged from 31% in brush mice to 9% in pinyon mice. Other animal species having antibodies were harvest mice, deer mice, meadow mice, jackrabbits, chipmunks, ground squirrels, raccoons and striped skunks. No phase II CF antibodies to C. burneti were detected in the bobcats and feral cats that were tested. C. burneti was isolated from 9 of the 20 wild mammal species tested (deer, sported skunk, striped skunk, grey fox, coyote, brush rabbit, jackrabbit, deer mouse and ground squirrel) and 2 kinds of ticks ( Dermacentor occidentalis and Ornithodoros coriaceus ). The prevalence of detectable antibodies in wildlife appeared to be related to their association with infected livestock or small mammals. Exposure and possible infection through the respiratory route may have been related to the food habits of wild animals. The kinds of animals (jackrabbits and deer) that feed on the same pastures as infected livestock had a higher prevalence than those from bordering areas (e.g., wood rats). Certain carnivores (coyotes, foxes and skunks) may have become exposed to C. burneti while eating infected sheep or wild animals.
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