Although Cryptococcus gattii has emerged as an important pathogen of humans and domestic animals on Vancouver Island, Canada since 1999; its distribution in regional wildlife species is largely unknown. Opportunistic sampling methods were employed to obtain nasal swabs for fungal culture from wild mammal species residing within the coastal Douglas fir biogeoclimatic zone on the southeast coast of the island. Samples were collected from 91 animals representing 14 species. Cryptococcus gattii was isolated from the nasal swabs of two eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) trapped in Duncan, British Columbia. The relative proportion of nasal colonization in wild mammal species is consistent with findings in domestic animals, suggesting that animals may be good indicators of environmental organisms.
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Vol. 42 • No. 1