Cardiomyopathy caused by Trypanosoma cruzi and other infectious agents found in two free-ranging coatis (Nasua narica) from Costa Rica
Andrea Urbina Villalobos, Juan Alberto Morales-Acuña, Jorge Rojas-Jiménez, Milena Argüello-Sáenz, Silvia Acevedo-González
White-nose coatis (Nasua narica) is a procyonid widely distributed in semi-urban and protected areas from Costa Rica. It is considered the most abundant small carnivore in some areas of the country. This mammal has been reported as host of different infectious agents including Trypanosoma cruzi. Necropsy studies in this procyonid are important in order to determine the cause of death, extent of disease and to identify potential zoonotic infections. The aim of this study was to describe the infectious agents found by histopathological analysis in two free-ranging N. narica specimens from a troop that was presenting sudden death in the Bahía Ballena National Park in the province of Puntarenas, in order to determine the possible cause of death, and to discussed the potential zoonotic risk of these findings. Histopathological analysis was performed in several tissues stained with Hematoxylin & Eosin. Paragonimus spp., Dirofilaria spp., Sarcocystis spp. were demonstrated by histopathology. Eosinophilic intranuclear inclusions compatible with the Distemper Virus (DV) were observed in nervous tissue. Chagasic myocarditis is reported for the first time in this small carnivore. The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in paraffin embedded tissues confirmed the presence of T. cruzi in both animals. Multiple parasitism and viral neurological involvement could be the result of host factors, environment and infectious agents interactions in the host. DV and chagasic myocardiopathy could be the cause of death in these two N. narica specimens. Efforts towards epidemiological vigilance through a multidisciplinary approach are necessary to improve small carnivore knowledge. We consider this a contribution for conservation strategies do to the importance of zoonotic diseases for public and animal health given the increasing interactions between humans, domestic and wild animals in protected areas.