Term of Award

Spring 1995

Degree Name

Master of Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


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


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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