Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 6, 2006
Publication Date: April 6, 2006
Citation: Carrasco, L., Raya, A.I., Nunez, A., Gomez-Laguna, J., Hernandez, S., Dubey, J.P. 2006. Fatal toxoplasmosis and concurrent calodium hepaticum infection in korean suirrels (tanias sibericus). Veterinary Parasitology. 137:180-183.
Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite of all warm-blooded hosts worldwide. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. Cats are the main reservoir of T. gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the resistant stage (oocyst) of the parasite in the feces. Humans become infected by eating undercooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts.Scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service and a University in Spain report fatal toxoplasmosis in pet squirrels. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Four Korean squirrels (Tanias siberius) imported in Spain from People’s Republic of China died two days after their arrivel at a pet shop. They had neurological signs associated with generalized toxoplasmosis involving brain, lungs, liver, and the heart. Toxoplasma gondii–like tachyzoites and tissue cysts were found in organs of all four squirrels. The protozoa stained positively with T.gondii polyclonal antibodies and were ultrastructurally similar to T. gondii. Calodium (Capillaria) hepaticum infection was found in the liver of one squirrel.