We evaluated the prevalence of Lawsonia intracellularis infection in three wild animal species in Korea; the Korean water deer (Hydropotes inermis), Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus), and raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides). We collected 136 sera and 109 fecal samples from individuals in 10 Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Centers. Serum samples were tested for anti–L. intracellularis antibodies using a blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (bELISA), and fecal samples were subjected to a real-time PCR assay for L. intracellularis. Thirty-five (25.7%) sera and 36 (33.0%) fecal samples were positive. We found a higher proportion of positive sera (64.7%, χ2=15.439, P<0.01) and feces (58.8%, χ2=6.126, P<0.05) in raccoon dogs (χ2=11.855, P<0.01) than in the other species (20% positive sera and 29% positive feces in Korean water deer; 20% positive sera and 25% positive feces in Siberian roe deer). Our data indicate infection by L. intracellularis in Korean water deer, Siberian roe deer, and raccoon dogs throughout the country. It is imperative to know whether these infected animal species are natural hosts for L. intracellularis in addition to domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus).
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