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Prevalence of Sarcocystis calchasi in free-ranging host species: Accipiter hawks and Common Woodpigeon in Germany

Parmentier, Sylvia L. ; Maier-Sam, Kristina ; Failing, Klaus ; Enderlein, Dirk ; Gruber, Achim D. ; Lierz, Michael


Originalveröffentlichung: (2018) Scientific Reports 8:17610 doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35862-x
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URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:26-opus-148977
URL: http://geb.uni-giessen.de/geb/volltexte/2019/14897/


Sammlung: Open Access - Publikationsfonds
Universität Justus-Liebig-Universit√§t Gie√üen
Institut: Clinic for Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
Fachgebiet: Veterinärmedizin
DDC-Sachgruppe: Landwirtschaft
Dokumentart: Aufsatz
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2018
Publikationsdatum: 22.10.2019
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: The apicomplexan parasite Sarcocystis calchasi (S. calchasi) triggers pigeon protozoal encephalitis, a neurologic disease in columbids. Accipiter hawks have been identified as the final host, and Columbidae and Psittaciformes as intermediate hosts. In this study, 368 free-ranging Accipiter hawks and 647 free-ranging common woodpigeons were sampled in a country-wide study in order to identify the prevalence of S. calchasi in these populations. A semi-nested PCR specific for S. calchasi tested positive in 7.3% (4.9-10.5) of submitted samples from Accipiter hawks. Juvenile Accipiter hawks (13.7%; 7.7-22.0) had a significantly higher infection rate with S. calchasi than adult Accipiter hawks (5.8%; 2.7-9.3). The prevalence of S. calchasi in common woodpigeons was 3.3% (5.4-9.7). Positive pigeons were identified in 14/16 federal states, and a region-dependency was detected, with higher rates of infection in the eastern parts of Germany. The results of this study suggest that the common woodpigeon is a natural reservoir for S. calchasi. In a study of one region for four consecutive years, an increase in prevalence was not detected. Findings indicate that the parasite is not newly introduced to Germany, but rather long established. The prevalence suggests that there is a substantial risk of S. calchasi infections in other free-ranging as well as captive host species.
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