Disseminated histoplasmosis in two juvenile raccoons (Procyon lotor) from a nonendemic region of the United States

Kristin A Clothier, Michelle Villanueva, Andrea Torain, Steve Reinl, Bradd Barr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Two 6-month-old raccoon kits, which had been rescued and fostered in preparation for return to the wild, became acutely ill and died 3 weeks before scheduled release. At necropsy, the kits had grossly enlarged livers and spleens, diffusely consolidated lungs, and generalized lymphadenopathy. Histologically, extensive infiltrates of macrophages containing yeast organisms were identified in lung, liver, kidney, spleen, lymph nodes, intestinal tissues, brain, adrenal gland, bone marrow, and thymus of both animals. Histiocytic inflammation with accompanying fibrosis was widespread, with necrotic foci evident in lungs, spleen, and intestinal sections. Fungal organisms were observed on sheep blood agar plates; however, repeated subcultures to fungal media designed to induce conidial structures for fungal identification were unsuccessful. Partial DNA sequencing of the 28S ribosomal RNA gene of the blood agar isolate identified 100% homology with Ajellomyces capsulatus (anamorphic name Histoplasma capsulatum). The kits were rescued and fostered in the San Francisco Bay area and it is likely that the exposure to H. capsulatum occurred in this area. Histoplasma sp. infection in wild mammal species is often used as an indication of spore contamination of a geographic region. Northern California is not known to be an endemic region for H. capsulatum, which is not a reportable disease in this state. The presence of severe, disseminated disease and the need for molecular identification associated with the isolate from a nonendemic region identified in the present report may indicate genetic adaptation and altered characteristics of this agent and may warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-301
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Histoplasma capsulatum
  • Procyon lotor
  • raccoon kits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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