Recent sarcoptic mange epizootics have affected free-ranging black bears (Ursus americanus) in the northeastern US, but not in North Carolina. To determine whether black bears in eastern North Carolina have exposure to Sarcoptes scabiei, serum samples from hunter-harvested black bears (n=45) were collected and evaluated for antibodies using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay previously validated in black bears. No dermal lesions consistent with sarcoptic mange were identified in the sampled bears. The seroprevalence among these asymptomatic bears was 18%, with no significant difference between sexes or association with age. This suggests that exposure to Sarcoptes scabiei occurs within the population, and highlights the importance of serosurveys in regions without a history of clinical mange.
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Vol. 57 • No. 3