Inter-annual differences in the age-related prevalences of Babesia and Trypanosoma parasites of European badgers (Meles meles)

Authors

  • D. W. Macdonald,

    1. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, U.K.
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  • M. Anwar,

    1. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, U.K.
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  • C. Newman,

    1. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, U.K.
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  • R. Woodroffe,

    1. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, U.K.
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    • Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, U.K.

  • P. J. Johnson

    1. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, U.K.
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Abstract

A total of 263 individual badgers Meles meles provided 718 blood samples which were screened for parasites. This revealed that 77.2% of individuals tested positive for Babesia missirolii at least once over 3 years, whereas 7.7% did so for Trypanosoma pestanai. However, the prevalence was highest in younger age classes, except in 1990 when it was high in most categories. There was some evidence that following a positive test for Babesia badgers were more likely to be caught again in subsequent years when compared to individuals testing negative. For Trypanosoma, although prevalence decreased from a peak of 29.2% from June onwards in 1990, we found no significant corollaries of infection. These results are discussed in the light of inter-annual variation in weather and other factors.

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