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Wildlife
Further evidence of leprosy in Isle of Wight red squirrels

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LEPROSY due to Mycobacterium lepromatosis infection was first diagnosed in red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) on the Isle of Wight in 2015. Acid-fast bacilli typical of Mycobacterium species were observed histologically in two animals that had unusual ear and skin lesions, and PCR analysis of a range of tissues from one squirrel identified the bacilli as M lepromatosis (Simpson and others 2015).

In a follow-up study between 2013 and 2016 to try to determine the distribution and prevalence of leprosy on the Isle of Wight, ear pinna and skin samples were collected during routine postmortem examinations of 92 squirrels that were found dead. These animals originated from all areas of the island and deaths due …

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