Assessment of the risks of rats (Rattus norvegicus) and opossums (Didelphis albiventris) in different poultry-rearing areas in Argentina

Avaliação dos riscos sanitários de ratos (Rattus norvegicus) e gambás (Didelphis albiventris) em diferentes granjas avícolas na Argentina

We have studied the prevalence of Trichinella spiralis, Leptospira spp. and Salmonella spp. in rats and opossums that inhabit poultry farms of Exaltación de la Cruz, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to determine the potential sanitary risk for humans that are in contact with these animals. The study was carried out on 48 poultry farms between spring 1999 and winter 2001. The study of opossums began in winter 2000. During the study period we captured 152 Rattus norvegicus, 3 Rattus rattus, 16 Didelphis albiventris and 1 Lutreolina crassicaudata. We have registered the presence of rats and opossums in 70% and 27% of the studied farms, respectively. The percentage of farms with rats was independent of the presence or absence of pigs. We did not detect the presence of Leptospira spp. and Trichinella spiralis in any individual. We detected the presence of Salmonella Enteritidis in one Rattus norvegicus and one Didelphis albiventris. According to our results, the rats and opossums of poultry farms may not report a risk factor in the transmission of Trichinella and Leptospira under the present conditions; but the detection of Salmonella Enteritidis in rats as well as in opossums suggests the idea of applying prophylactics measurements on poultry farms.

zoonosis; Salmonella; poultry farms; rats; opossum


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