Numerous serotypes of Salmonella have been detected in a variety of wild animals, including raccoons (Procyon lotor). Raccoons are common, mid-size omnivores that live in close association with people in urban and rural areas in Ontario. Although raccoons are known to shed Salmonella, little is known about their potential long-term role in maintaining Salmonella infections. We sampled feces from raccoons in three areas of Ontario: one primarily urban site around Niagara, one primarily rural site north of Guelph, and the grounds of the Toronto Zoo, in 2007 to identify which serotypes of Salmonella were commonly shed by raccoons in southern Ontario. In addition, we conducted a longitudinal study at the Toronto Zoo site to determine if raccoons remain persistently infected with Salmonella. Salmonella was found in 45% of samples. The prevalence of Salmonella in raccoon feces ranged from 27% at the rural site to 65% at the urban site. We detected 16 serotypes of Salmonella in 83 positive samples. The most common serotype detected in raccoons from the rural and zoo sites was Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium, whereas Salmonella Newport was detected most commonly in the urban site. Only one raccoon of 11 that were captured in four or more consecutive trapping sessions shed the same Salmonella serotype for two consecutive months, suggesting that raccoons regularly acquire new Salmonella serotypes from the environment.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2