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  • 1 Air Force Institute for Operational Health, and Air Force Research Laboratory, Brooks City-Base, Texas; Department of Biologic Sciences, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas; School of Math, Science and Engineering, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas
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An eastern woodrat (Neotoma floridana) collected in January 2001 near Bedias, Grimes County, Texas, had extensive lesions of both ears and swollen feet. Impression smears and histologic sections demonstrated the presence of Leishmania in both ears and the one foot that was screened. Polymerase chain reaction screening using species-specific primers detected parasites in both ears and all four feet and indicated the parasites were L. mexicana. The detection of L. mexicana in N. floridana represents a new host record in a new ecologic region and may help explain a human infection acquired outside the previously-known range of the disease. Given the geographic distribution of N. floridana and the two other species of Neotoma found naturally infected, enzootic foci of Leishmania could be present over much of the southern United States.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Chad P. McHugh, AFIOH/RSRH (Attn: Entomology), 2513 Kennedy Circle, Brooks City-Base, TX 78235-5116, Telephone: 210-536-6135, E-mail: chad.mchugh@brooks.af.mil.