Forty-six golden jackals (Canis aureus) were collected between November 2020 and February 2021 in five counties of Serbia. Lung samples were screened for the presence of Pneumocystis DNA by pan-Pneumocystis PCR on the mtLSU rRNA gene obtaining PCR products of 370 bp in length. Pneumocystis DNA was detected in the lungs from 6/46 (13.04%) golden jackals. Four were females and two were males; four were classified as adults and two as subadults. Positive samples were confirmed in 4/5 investigated counties. No gross pathologic lung lesions were observed in this study. The sequences of Pneumocystis spp. from golden jackals were identical to one another and showed the highest similarity with Pneumocystis spp. sequences of dogs (98% nucleotide identity). The genetic variation was comparable to Pneumocystis spp. of raccoon dogs (95–97% nucleotide identity), red foxes (91–95% nucleotide identity), ferrets (86% nucleotide identity), and another Pneumocystis type in dogs (P. canis Ck2, 81% nucleotide identity) was higher. Golden jackals may be carriers and may play a nonnegligible role in the spread of Pneumocystis spp. Although this finding cannot be directly related to any clinical manifestation or pathologic lesions, a possible role in the exacerbation of different pulmonary disorders should be considered.
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Vol. 58 • No. 4