Approximately 16,300 rodent, lagomorph, herbivore, carnivore and bird wildlife specimens and their ectoparasites, collected between 1957 and 1962, were routinely examined for the incidence of certain endemic pathogenic organisms. These pathogens were Pasteurella tularensis, P. pestis, Brucella spp., Bacillus anthracis, Coccidioides immitis, Coxiella burnetii, and Rickettsia rickettsii. The sera of the original specimens, as well as that of tissue- and ectoparasite-injected indicator guinea pigs, were examined for complement fixation and/or agglutination antibodies, as applicable. Appropriate isolation procedures were carried out for each organism when evidence indicated its presence.
In the survey 1,367 specimens consisting of 19 species were found to be seropositive for Q fever; 1,951 specimens of 23 species were positive for Rocky Mountain spotted fever; 28 serum samples from 6 species contained Brucella agglutinins; and 40 specimens of 11 species had P. tularensis agglutinins. Ninety-one isolations of C. burnetii were made from animal tissues and 23 from ectoparasites. Four isolations of Br. neotomae were made from tissues, and isolations of P. tularensis were made ten times from tissues and twice from ticks. P. pestis was isolated once from tissues. Numerous isolates of R. rickettsii or of a related rickettsia were made, but none having the virulence of classical R. rickettsii were found. There was no evidence of viable B. anthracis or C. immitis in the specimens examined.