This study aimed to describe the occurrence of Yersinia pestis, Rickettsia rickettsii, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and ectoparasites in a wild rodent community in the eastern Sierra Nevada. From May to September 2006, rodents were live-trapped, examined for ectoparasites, and blood was collected. All rodents were serologically tested for antibodies to Y. pestis, R. rickettsii, and A. phagocytophilum; in addition, blood samples and ectoparasites were tested by PCR to detect the presence of these zoonotic agents. Overall, 89 rodents, 46 fleas, and four ticks were collected. Antibody prevalence rates observed for rodents were 14% for R. rickettsii or antigenically related spotted-fever group rickettsiae, and 8% for A. phagocytophilum. No samples were positive for antibodies to Y. pestis. Positive PCR results included one yellow-pine chipmunk for Y. pestis (CT=32.8), one golden-mantled ground squirrel for R. rickettsii (CT=33), and one flea found to be co-infected with both R. rickettsii (CT=17) and A. phagocytophilum (CT=36). The results of this study provide evidence of multiple zoonoses overlapping within a single, located rodent community.
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Vol. 44 • No. 3