Submitted to: Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/15/2003
Publication Date: 12/1/2003
Citation: FAYER, R., DURAN-SANTIN, M., PALMER, R.C., LI, X. DETECTION OF ENCEPHALITOZOON HELLEM IN FECES OF EXPERIMENTALLY INFECTED CHICKENS. JOURNAL OF EUKARYOTIC MICROBIOLOGY. 2003. Vol. 50 pp. 5743-575.
Interpretive Summary: Microsporidia are protozoan parasites. Several species have recently been detected in humans but little is known of the sources or methods of transmission. Recent studies by USDA scientists and others have identified the most prevalent species infecting humans, Enterocytozoon bieneusi, in naturally infected cattle. European scientists have also detcted this species in chickens in a poultry abattoir. Results of the present study suggest that another species of microsporidia that infects humans and a variety of birds, Encephalitozoon hellem, is also infectious for chickens.
Technical Abstract: Encephalitozoon hellem, intitially isolated from an AIDS patient, was found infectious for athymic mice and has been reported in natural infections of psittacine birds, an ostrich and hummingbirds. The specific routes of transmission have not been well documented. However, like other fecal borne pathogens, the infectious spore stage is probably transmitted by direct contact or by ingestion of contaminated food and water. The present study has demonstrated that molecular tools were effective in identifying E. hellem in feces of experimentally infected young chickens for as long as 19 days after experimental exposure to spores. This is the first report of chickens as a potential host and source for this parasite.