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Comparative pathology and investigation of diseases in neotropical marsupials, order Didelphimorphia: a surveillance proposal in a group of mammals neglected in wild fauna health studies


In the Anthropocene era, there is a significant increase in diseases affecting wild animals. This situation contributes to the current sixth wave of species extinction and places, in the context of One Health, these animals in a central role as sentinels, reservoirs and disseminators of diseases. Carrying out necroscopic and histological examinations is recommended as a broad way of detecting and controlling infectious and non-infectious diseases. Marsupials, infraclass Metatheria distributed throughout Oceania and the Americas, play an important ecological role in maintaining the habitat and include emblematic synanthropic species, such as opossums, which act as reservoirs of diseases that have an impact on animal and human health, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and sarcocystoses. Despite this evident importance, Neotropical marsupials represent one of the most neglected groups of mammals in studies of the health of wild fauna in our country and in Latin America. The present project aims to contribute to minimize this knowledge gap and, therefore, aims to carry out a broad comparative pathology study and the surveillance of pathogens in this taxonomic group, based on the performance of histopathological, immunohistochemical and RTPCR/PCR tests. The samples used (expected total sampling effort of 600 cases) will come from centers for screening and rehabilitation of wild fauna and animal health surveillance services in municipalities, mainly, in the state of São Paulo. Considering the significant scarcity of information available on the health of Neotropical marsupials, this study intends to compose a broad survey of baseline information on the health of these animals and characterize morpho-etiologically the main injuries and illnesses that affect specimens of this taxon, both in the wild and those kept under humane care in our state. (AU)

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