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Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Detection of Sarcocystis felis-like protozoon in South American wild felids from Brazil

item CANON-FRANCO, WILLIAM - Universidad De Caldas
item LOPEZ-OROZCO, NATALIA - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item CHRISTOFF, ALEXANDRE - University Of Luterana
item DE CASTILHO, CAMILA - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item PACHECO DE ARAUJO, FLAVIO ANTONIO - Federal University Of Rio Grande Do Sul
item VERMA, SHIV - Orise Fellow
item Dubey, Jitender
item SOARES, RODRIGO - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item GENNARI, SOLANGE - Universidade De Sao Paulo

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2016
Publication Date: 2/15/2016
Citation: Canon-Franco, W.A., Lopez-Orozco, N., Christoff, A.U., De Castilho, C.S., Pacheco De Araujo, F., Verma, S.K., Dubey, J.P., Soares, R.S., Gennari, S.M. 2016. Detection of Sarcocystis felis-like protozoon in South American wild felids from Brazil. Veterinary Parasitology. 217:15-20.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasmosis, caused by a single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii, continues to be public health problem worldwide. Felids (domestic and wild) are the main reservoirs of this infection because they are the only hosts that can excrete the environmentally resistant stage (oocyst) in their feces. Sarcocystis is a close relative of Toxoplasma and felids also excrete this parasite in their feces. Little is known of the prevalence these infections in South American wild felids. In the present study, authors found Sarcocystis felis DNA in five species of wild felids from Brazil, including of 6 of 22 Puma yagouaroundi, 4 of 7 Leopardus colocolo, 8 of 22 L. geoffroyi, 7 of 28 L. guttulus, 6 of 10 L. wiedii. The presence of the parasite was confirmed by electron microscopy in 1 Puma. Molecular relationships among Toxoplasma, Sarcocystis, and related coccidian of cats are discussed. These findings will be of interests to veterinarians, parasitologists, and pathologists.

Technical Abstract: Wild felids are thought to share parasites with domestic cats. However, little is known of the coccidian parasites of wild felids. Weinvestigated the presence of Sarcocystis spp. in tissues of six species of Neotropical small felids killed in road accidents in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil by using microscopic and molecular techniques. Sarcocystis DNA, detected by PCR-DNA sequencing at the ITS-1 locus, was found in tissues of 6 of 22 Puma yagouaroundi, 4 of 7 Leopardus colocolo, 8 of 22 L. geoffroyi, 7 of 28 L. guttulus, 6 of 10 L. wiedii, and the only L. pardalis examined was negative. DNA of Sarcocystis spp. was detected in 49 of 345 tissue samples, including skeletal muscle, tongue, diaphragm, brain, heart, and ocular muscles. Histological sections of 28 positive tongue samples by PCR-DNA were histologically examined, S. felis–like sarcocysts was detected in 2 P. yagouaroundi and 2 L. guttulus. By electron microscopy, sarcocysts from a P. yagouaroundi were identical to S. felis from domestic cats in the USA. In addition, 22 of the 49 PCR positive samples were sequenced showed 97% similarity to previously describe isolates of Sarcocystis felis. The phylogenetic relationship indicated that S. felis is quite different to species which employ opossums as their definitive host. This is the first report on the occurrence of S. felis parasites in small wild cats from Brazil.