Encephalitozoon hellem in Two Eclectus Parrots (Eclectus roratus): Identification from Archival Tissues

Authors

  • Nicole Pllparampil,

    1. Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine. Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, 77843-4467
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  • David Graham,

    1. Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine. Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, 77843-4467
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  • David Phalen,

    1. Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine. Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, 77843-4467
    2. Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine. Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, 77843-4467
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  • Karen Snowden

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine. Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, 77843-4467
    • To whom correspondence should be addressed. Telephone: 409-862-4999; FAX: 409-862-2344; Email: http://www.ksnowdencvm.tamu.edu

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Abstract

ABSTRACT Members of the phylum Microspora are obligate, intracellular, single-celled parasites identified in a wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate hosts. Only a few cases of microsporidial infections have been documented in psittacine birds including peach-faced, masked, and Fischer's lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis, A. personata, and A. fischeri. respectively), budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus), and a double yellow-headed Amazon parrot (Amazona ochrocephala). Parasite identification has typically been limited to phylum or genus, and no avian species of microsporidia has clearly been described. In this report, microsporidia were identified in the kidney and intestine of a new host, the eclectus parrot (Eclectus roratus). Parasites were identified as Encephalitozoon hellem using morphologic, ultrastructural, and small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequence data obtained from archived tissues. This parasite species was first identified in immunocompromised humans and may be a potential zoonotic pathogen. The epidemiology and prevalence of this parasite in humans and birds should be further explored.

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