Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 10, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite of livestock and humans. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children and abortion in livestock. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and a zoo in Texas report fatal toxoplasmosis in magpie geese for the first time in this host. The results will be of interest to zoo veterinarians, parasitologists and pathologists.
Fatal disseminated Toxoplasma gondii infection was diagnosed in 2 captive magpie geese (Anseranas semipalmata) from a zoo in Texas. Both geese died suddenly, without apparent clinical signs. Lesions associated with T. gondii tachyzoites were seen in lungs, pancreas, liver, adrenals, bursa of Fabricius, spleen, brain, and kidneys. Toxoplasmic pneumonia and hepatitis swere considered to be the primary cause of death. An unusual feature was the presence of numerous tissue cysts in hepatocytes of both geese. The diagnosis was confirmed immunohistochemically. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 2 of 11 other geese from the zoo examined using the modified agglutination test. This is the first report of T. gondii infection in magpie geese (Anseranas semipalmata).