BLOOD PARASITE INFECTIONS IN STRIGIFORMES AND PSITTACIFORMES SPECIES IN CAPTIVITY WITH A NEW RECORD OF POTENTIAL FATAL BLOOD PARASITE TRANSMISSION TO PARROTS.
García-Del-Río M, Sancho R, Martínez J, Merino S.
Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Vete. 2021; 51(4): 799-813

Abstract

Although parrot species are infrequently infected by hemoparasites in the wild, some fatal infections have been reported in captive individuals. Conversely birds of prey are frequently infected by hemoparasites. In this study, 193 captive birds from Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) centers in Madrid, Spain, belonging to orders Psittaciformes, Accipitriformes, Strigiformes, and Falconiformes, were blood-sampled in search of parasite infections. Molecular and microscopic analyses were conducted to detect parasites of the following genera: Haemoproteus, Plasmodium, Leucocytozoon, Trypanosoma, Babesia, and Lankesterella. Infections by microfilariae and Coccidia were also searched in blood samples. Surprisingly, infections by Haemoproteus syrnii, a common parasite from owls, were detected in the cadavers of two species of parrots, Trichoglossus haematodus and Psittacula cyanocephala. The same haplotype was also detected in the cadavers of two owl species, Tyto alba and Strix rufipes. All these birds were housed and died in the same center. Infections by species of Plasmodium, Leucocytozoon, and Trypanosoma were also found in different species of raptors. Nocturnal raptors (Strigiformes) show significantly higher prevalence of infection by blood parasites than diurnal raptors (Falconiformes and Accipitriformes). In conclusion, a potential fatal transmission of Haemoproteus syrnii, from Strigiformes to Psittaciformes species, is reported and several infections by different blood parasites were detected in birds of prey. These results emphasize the importance of increasing prevention measures to avoid or reduce the transmission of blood parasites among birds from different species housed in these types of centers.



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