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9 October 2019 PATHOGEN PREVALANCE IN AMERICAN BLACK BEARS (URSUS AMERICANUS AMBLYCEPS) OF THE JEMEZ MOUNTAINS, NEW MEXICO, USA
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Abstract

Informed management of American black bears (Ursus americanus) requires knowledge of the distribution and pathology of diseases affecting the species. Little information is available on pathogen prevalence from black bear populations in the Southwest, US, and it is unknown how these infections may influence black bear populations or disease transmission. We captured New Mexico black bears (Ursus americanus amblyceps) during 2016–17 as part of a long-term monitoring project and opportunistically collected 36 blood samples from 12 female and 17 male black bears. We wanted to determine prior exposure to canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, West Nile virus, Toxoplasma gondii, and the tick-borne pathogens, Anaplasma spp., Ehrlichia spp., Borrelia burgdorferi, Rickettsia spp., and Babesia spp. Approximately half (55%, 16/29) of the individuals sampled had antibodies to Y. pestis, and 37% (10/27) had antibodies to T. gondii. Prevalence of antibodies to West Nile virus, F. tularensis, and canine parvovirus were lower (i.e., 11, 10, and 3%, respectively). We detected no antibodies to canine distemper, B. burgdorferi, Rickettsia spp., or Babesia spp. We documented changes in antibody titer levels for both sexes of several recaptured black bears. Our data will inform managers of pathogen prevalence and distribution in black bears in north-central New Mexico and provide a vital baseline dataset for future pathogen monitoring. Additionally, these data support actions to minimize exposure through handling wild individuals or through hunter harvest activities.

© Wildlife Disease Association 2019
Susan M. Bard and James W. Cain III "PATHOGEN PREVALANCE IN AMERICAN BLACK BEARS (URSUS AMERICANUS AMBLYCEPS) OF THE JEMEZ MOUNTAINS, NEW MEXICO, USA," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 55(4), 745-754, (9 October 2019). https://doi.org/10.7589/2018-12-286
Received: 8 December 2018; Accepted: 28 March 2019; Published: 9 October 2019
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