As part of a larger epidemiological study examining the transmission of Trichinella spiralis in an agricultural ecosystem, resident wild and feral animals were trapped to determine the extent of their involvement in the natural, on-farm cycling of the parasite among swine. During a 21-mo-study, seven of 15 skunks (Mephitis mephitis), one of three opossums (Didelphis virginiana), two of two feral domestic cats and a raccoon (Procyon lotor) were found to be infected, while five shrews (Blarina brevicauda) and 18 deer mice (Peromyscus spp.) were uninfected. Most of the former hosts probably became infected by scavenging dead infected swine or rats (Rattus norvegicus). However, infections obtained through predation of living rats, particularly with regard to the cats, cannot be excluded. Our observations do not suggest that there was transmission of T. spiralis from the wild animals to swine. Therefore, transmission of T. spiralis appeared to occur only from the farm's swine and rats to the associated wild and feral animals.
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Vol. 24 • No. 4