Term of Award

Spring 1995

Degree Name

Master of Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Oscar J. Pung

Committee Member 1

William S. Irby

Committee Member 2

Ann E. Pratt

Committee Member 3

Kishwar Maur

Abstract

Dirofilaria tenuis is a subcutaneous filariid of the raccoon (Procyon lotor) which is transmitted by mosquitoes and occasionally infects humans. The parasite has not been reported to occur in raccoons from Georgia though a patient from the southeastern section of the state was recently treated for a D. tenuis-induced conjunctival nodule. To determine the prevalence of D. tenuis among raccoons in Georgia, animals were live-trapped, anesthetized and bled. Wet mounts of fresh raccoon blood and preparations of blood concentrated in 2% formalin were examined for the presence of D. tenuis microfilariae using a light microscope. We found that 48 of 90 raccoons (53%) trapped in the southeastern Georgia counties of Richmond, Bryan, Bulloch, Candler and Liberty were infected with the parasite. Numbers of microfilariae ranged from 100 to 14,750/ml of raccoon blood (mean ± SD = 2,215 ± 2,757). The mean length and width (pm) of microfilariae in 2% formalin were 292.7 ± 29.5 and 5.0 ± 1.3 respectively. Microfilariae had buttonhooked tails and were unsheathed. This is the first report of D. tenuis in raccoons in the state of Georgia. Additionally, I examined mosquitoes trapped in southeast Georgia to determine which species serve as vectors of D. tenuis in this area and to determine the prevalence of the parasite in mosquitoes. I dissected 521 mosquitoes (23 different species) and have found 7 mosquitoes of the species Aedes taeniorhynchus infected with as yet to be identified filariid larvae and prelarvae.

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