Physical, epidemiological, and molecular evaluation of infection by Cryptosporidium galli in Passeriformes


Due to the scarcity of information related to the epidemiology of Cryptosporidium infection in passerine birds, this study aimed to determine the periodicity of fecal shedding of Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts, after natural infection, and its clinical signs, mortality, and molecular characterization. Four hundred eighty fecal samples were collected from 40 birds, including 372 samples from 31 adult birds and 108 samples from nine young birds (up to 12 months old), housed in five aviaries, monthly from September 2007 to September 2008, with the exception of April. The birds originated from aviaries in which the following species were raised: great-billed seed-finch (Oryzoborus maximiliani), lesser seed-finch (Oryzoborus angolensis), ultramarine grosbeak (Cyanocompsa brissonii), and rusty-collared seedeater (Sporophila collaris). The samples were preserved in 2.5% potassium dichromate at 4A degrees C until processing. The oocysts were purified by centrifugal flotation in Sheather's solution, followed by genomic DNA extraction and molecular characterization of oocysts using the nested polymerase chain reaction for amplification of fragments of the 18S subunit of rRNA gene. Intermittent shedding of oocysts was observed by positive amplification for Cryptosporidium spp. in 91 (24.5%) samples of adult birds and 14 (13%) of young birds. The sequencing of the amplified fragments enabled the identification of Cryptosporidium galli. Although all the aviaries had birds positive for C. galli, morbidity or mortality was observed in only one aviary and was associated with concomitant infection with Escherichia coli and Isospora sp.



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Parasitology Research. New York: Springer, v. 107, n. 2, p. 271-277, 2010.