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Infect Genet Evol. 2011 Oct;11(7):1638-45. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2011.06.007. Epub 2011 Jun 22.

A clonal strain of Trichomonas gallinae is the aetiologic agent of an emerging avian epidemic disease.

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Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY, UK.


Trichomonas gallinae is a protozoan parasite that is well characterised as a cause of trichomonosis in columbid and raptor species world-wide. The parasite emerged as a novel infection of British passerines in 2005, leading to epidemic mortality associated with significant declines of breeding populations of greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) and chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs). We characterised the extent of T. gallinae genotypic heterogeneity within the affected wild British avifauna by analysing individual isolates from 17 of the species affected. To do so, we employed improved platform-based multilocus typing tools as well as the hydrogenosomal Fe-hydrogenase gene as a single marker locus for fine-typing. We found no evidence of heterogeneity amongst the parasites infecting British passerines, indicating that a clonal strain of T. gallinae is the causative agent of this emerging infectious disease.

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