Prevalence and Intensity of the Sinus Roundworm, Skrjabingylus chitwoodorum, in Rabies-negative Skunks of Texas

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2016-05

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Abstract

The sinus roundworm, Skrjabingylus chitwoodorum, occurs in North American skunks (Mephitidae). Estimates of its distribution and prevalence have been largely based on the inspection of skunk skulls showing damage from Skrjabingylus infections. I examined 595 striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) and 5 hog-nosed skunks (Conepatus leuconotus) that tested negative for rabies by the Texas Department of State Health Services between November 2010 and April 2015 to determine species of Skrjabingylus, prevalence and intensity of infection, and distribution in Texas by county. Prevalence of S. chitwoodorum in striped skunks was 48.7%. Mean intensity was 19.4 with a range from 1-181 nematodes. There was a left side bias in the host sinuses. Neither intensity nor prevalence of infections varied among ecoregions of Texas. The high prevalence of Skrjabingylus in rabies-negative skunks supports the hypothesis that behavioral changes due to skrjabingylosis may be responsible for the submission of many skunks for rabies testing.

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Keywords

Skrjabingylus chitwoodorum, Mephitis mephitis: Mephitis, skunk, striped skunk, nematode, sinus roundworm

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