Lung parasites of shrews from Pennsylvania

Juha Laakkonen, Voitto Haukisalmi, Joseph Merritt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined lung parasites of three species of soricids, Sorex cinereus (n = 58), Sorex fumeus (n = 23) and Blarina brevicauda (n = 45) collected from Pennsylvania (USA), from 1990 to 1995. Yeast-like cells of Histoplasma capsulatum var. capsulatum were found in lung sections stained with Grocott's modification of Gomori's methenamine silver, periodic acid-Schiff, Giemsa, and hematoxylin-eosin in two (3%) S. cinereus, eight (35%) S. fumeus and two (4%) B. brevicauda. The number of spores of H. capsulatum in the lungs was low and no inflammatory reaction was evident. The infection was not disseminated to other organs. This is the first report of H. capsulatum infection in any species of shrews of the genus Sorex and the prevalence in S. fumeus was remarkably high compared to those reported for other wild mammals. A nematode, possibly Angiostrongylus michiganensis, was found in the lungs of one S. fumeus on necropsy and in a stained lung section of one S. cinereus. In both cases the host was also infected with the fungus. Pneumocystis carinii, which is the most common lung parasite in Sorex araneus (the numerically dominant Eurasian species of shrew), was not found in any of the North American species of shrew examined in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-289
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of wildlife diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • Angiostrongylus michiganensis
  • Blarina
  • Histoplasma capsulatum
  • Pneumocystis carinii
  • Sorex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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