Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 12, 2003
Publication Date: January 20, 2004
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Lipscomb, T.P., Mense, M. 2004. Toxoplasmosis in an elephant seal (mirounga angustirostris). Journal of Parasitology 90:410-411.
Interpretive Summary: Infection by the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii is widely prevalent in animals and humans. It causes abortion in animals and mental retardation in children.
Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the AFIP, Washington D.C. report the first case of toxoplasmosis in an elephant seal. These results will be of interest to marine biologists, parasitologists and pathologists.
Toxoplasma gondii infection in fish-eating marine mammals is intriguing and indicative of contamination of sea environment with oocysts. Toxoplasma gondii was identified in an elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) that had encephalitis. Tissue cysts were found in sections of cerebrum and the diagnosis was confirmed by immunohistochemical staining with T. gondii-specific polyclonal rabbit serum. This is the first report of T. gondii infection in an elephant seal.