Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 27, 1999
Publication Date: January 1, 2000
Interpretive Summary: Cryptosporidium species appear very similar and are difficult to identify at the species level. This in turn renders the tracking of infections, i.e., the epidemiological investigation, very difficult or impossible. So, it becomes imperative to develop tools to clearly identify species and to identify potential hosts. The present study has identified Cryptosporidium meleagridis, a known parasite of turkeys, and a parasite reported in an AIDS patient, in a parrot. This new host extends the range of potential hosts for this organism and demonstrates a new group of birds as potential sources of infection for immunosuppressed humans and other animals.
The objective of this work was to characterize and compare a Cryptosporidium infection in an Indian ring neck parrot (Psittacula krameri) with C. meleagridis from the domesticated turkey (Meleagris gallopao). Tissue and intestinal sections from a parot were embedded in paraffin and examined microscopicaly for Cryptosporidium. The organism was salso purified from the crop and intestine, the DNA extracted and a portion of the 18S rDNA gene amplified, sequenced and compared to available sequence and biological information for C. meleagridis from turkeys. Morphological examination of parrot tissue revealed large numbers of Cryptosporidium oocysts attached to the apical border or enterocytes lining the intestinal tract. Purified oocysts measured approx. 5.1 x 4.5 um, which conformed morphologically to C. meleagridis. The sequence obtained from this isolate was identical to sequence information obtained from C. meleagridis from a turkey.