Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2009
Publication Date: 8/1/2009
Citation: Lindsay, D.S., Goodwin, D.G., Zajac, A.M., Cortes-Vecino, J.A., Gennari, S.M., Rosypal, A.C., Dubey, J.P. 2009. Serological survey for antibodies to Encephalitozoon cuniculi in ownerless dogs from urban areas of Brazil and Colombia. Journal of Parasitology. 95:760-763.
Interpretive Summary: Encephalitozoon cuniculi is a microsporidian parasite of zoonotic importance. It can be used with the protozoan parasite , Toxoplasma gondii; both parasites cause encephalitis in animals and humans. The present study reports the prevalence of antibodies to E. cuniculi in 2 urban canine populations from São Paulo, Brazil and Bogotá, Colombia, South America. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: There are 3 strains of Encephalitozoon cuniculi that occur in mammals. Strain III is associated with clinical disease in dogs, although some can be asymptomatic carriers and excrete spores in their urine. Several cases of human E. cuniculi infection caused by strain III have been observed in immunocompromised patients, indicating that E. cuniculi should be considered a zoonosis. Encephalitozoon cuniculi can cause fatal disease in maternally infected and young dogs. Clinical signs in these animals included blindness, encephalitis, retarded growth rate, and nephritis. Encephalitozoon cuniculi has also been associated with primary renal failure in adult dogs. The present study used the direct agglutination test (DAT, cut-off 1:50) and the indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT, cut-off 1:50) to examine the prevalence of antibodies to E. cuniculi in dogs from Brazil and Colombia. Using the DAG, 31 (27.4%) of 113 dogs from Brazil and 47 (18.5%) of 254 dogs from Colombia were seropositive. Nine (14.3%) of 63 dogs from Brazil and 18 (35.3%) of the 51 dogs from Colombia were seropositive by IFAT. These results indicate that dogs from Brazil and Colombia are exposed to E. cuniculi.