Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 31, 2008
Publication Date: December 30, 2008
Citation: Hartley, W.J., Booth, R., Slocombe, R.F., Dubey, J.P. 2008. Lethal toxoplasmosis in an aviary of kakarikis (Cyanoramphus spp.) in Australia. Journal of Parasitology. 94:1424-1425.
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. Birds are a source of infection for cats. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and from a university in Australia report fatal toxoplasmosis in birds native to Australia for the first time. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
A small outbreak of fatal toxoplasmosis is described in 6 kakariki (Cyanoramphus spp.) in an aviary in Australia. Toxoplasma gondii-like tachyzoites were found associated with necrosis in intestine, spleen, liver, and lungs. Protozoal tachyzoites reacted positively with T. gondii-specific polyclonal antibodies. This is the first report of toxoplasmosis in kakariki.