Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/4/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Infections by parasites of the genus Sarcocystis are widespread in livestock. Sarcocystis parasites are rarely associated with clinical disease in naturally infected animals. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the Michigan State University report an outbreak of sarcocystosis in 2 to 3 month old mink from a farm in Michigan. .The results will be of interest to veterinarians, parasitologists and mink farmers.
Technical Abstract: This report describes the clinical, microscopic and ultrastructural findings in mink with muscular sarcocystosis. Three 2 to 3 month old mink were killed because they were ill with signs of progressive neurological disease. One mink had variable numbers of sarcocysts in multiple skeletal muscles. Sarcocysts were up to 300 um in long and 20 um wide. Ultrastructurally, the sarcocyst wall had numerous elongated 1.7 to 2.0 um x 250 villar protrusions (VP). The VP had microtubules and irregularly distanced minute undulations. Both metrocytes and bradyzoites were present in sarcocysts. The mink with sarcocysts in muscles also had nonsuppurative meningoencephalitis and meningomyelitis. Similar brain lesions were found in other 2 skeletal muscle of these animals. This is the first report of muscular sarcocystosis in mink. Infections by the encysted stage (sarcocyst) of the protozoan parasites of the genus Sarcocystis are widespread in mammals, birds, and cold blooded animals (Dubey et al., 1989). Sarcocystis species are rarely associated with clinical disease in animals in naturally infected animals. We report infection with sarcocysts in a colony of mink for the first time.