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Environ Microbiol. 2008 May;10(5):1374-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2007.01548.x. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

Regurgitated pellets of Merops apiaster as fomites of infective Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia) spores.

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Regional Apicultural Center, Dirección General de la Producción Agropecuaria, Consejería de Agricultura, Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha, Marchamalo, Guadalajara, Spain.


The importance of transmission factor identification is of great epidemiological significance. The bee-eater (Merops apiaster) is a widely distributed insectivorous bird, locally abundant mainly in arid and semi-arid areas of southern Europe, northern Africa and western Asia but recently has been seen breeding in central Europe and Great Britain. Bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets. On the other hand, Nosema ceranae is a Microsporidia recently described as a parasite in Apis mellifera honeybees in Europe. Due to the short time since its description scarce epidemiological data are available. In this study we investigate the role of the regurgitated pellets of the European bee-eater as fomites of infective spores of N. ceranae. Spore detection in regurgitated pellets of M. apiaster is described [phase-contrast microscopy (PCM) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods]. Eighteen days after collection N. ceranae spores still remain viable and their infectivity is shown after artificial infection of Nosema-free 8-day-old adult bees. The epidemiological consequences of the presence of Nosema spores in this fomites are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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