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Encephalitozoon hellem infection in an Eclectus parrot-zoonotic potential?


Int Conf Emerg Infect Dis. 1998 Mar 8-11;:64. Unique Identifier :

Parasites of the genus Encephalitozoon (Phylum Microspora) are increasingly recognized as "Opportunistic infections" in immunocompromised humans. Possible sources of infection are poorly defined, and the role of domestic animals as reservoirs is largely unexplored. In a limited number of case reports from psittacine birds, microsporidial infections have been described as Encephalitozoon sp. infections based on light microscopic and ultrastructural morphology. A recent report described fatal microsporidial disease in young birds from a budgerigar aviary where Southern blotting was used to speciate the parasite as Encephalitozoon hellem. That parasite species was first described in 1991 and previously was only reported in immunocompromised humans. In this report, E. hellem is identified in a new avian host species using parasite morphologic characteristics and molecular sequencing. Microsporidial parasites were identified by light microscopy in histologic sections of kidney and liver from an Eclectus parrot (Eclectus roratus) submitted for post-mortem evaluation to the Schubot Avian Diagnostic Center, Texas A&M Univ. DNA was extracted from histologic sections of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues using a commercially available extraction matrix (Instagene, BioRad, Hercules, CA.). A 279 base region of the SSU rRNA gene was amplified by PCR using previously published primers (PMP1/PMP2) and sequenced in an automated sequencer (377 ABI Applied Biosystems, Inc.). Based on comparisons with previously reported microsporidial DNA sequences, the avian parasite SSU rRNA gene sequence shows 100% identity with E. hellem. The role of birds as reservoirs or sources of microsporidial zoonotic exposure needs to be further investigated.

*Encephalitozoonosis/TRANSMISSION *Parrots


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