We assessed the impact of land use, demographic factors, and season on the prevalence and intensity of Baylisascaris procyonis infections in raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Ontario, Canada. From March to October 2012, we recorded the number of B. procyonis in the intestinal tracts of raccoons submitted to the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre for necropsy. Logistic regression models were used to examine associations between the presence of B. procyonis and age (adult, juvenile), sex, land use (suburban/urban, rural), and season (March–June and July–October); negative binomial regression models were used to examine associations between the number of worms and the same variables. We detected B. procyonis in 38% (95% confidence interval 30–47%) of raccoons examined (n = 128). In univariable models, the presence of B. procyonis was significantly associated with age, land use, and season (P<0.05). Age was not retained in the multivariable model, and the impact of sex on the presence of B. procyonis varied with land use and season. For example, from March to June, suburban/urban male raccoons were significantly more likely to be infected with B. procyonis than suburban/urban female raccoons. However, later in the summer (July–October), the opposite was true. The median number of worms in the intestinal tracts of infected raccoons was 3 (range 1–116). Worm number was significantly associated with age and season in univariable models; in the multivariable model, juvenile raccoons had significantly more worms than adults, and the impact of season on the number of worms varied with land use and sex. A better understanding of the epidemiology of B. procyonis in raccoons is important for developing appropriate strategies to reduce the risk of human exposure to B. procyonis from the environment.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4