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Vet Parasitol. 2015 Feb 28;208(1-2):67-76. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2014.12.018. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

Histomonas meleagridis--new insights into an old pathogen.

Author information

1
Department for Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health, Clinic for Poultry and Fish Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria. Electronic address: michael.hess@vetmeduni.ac.at.
2
Department for Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health, Clinic for Poultry and Fish Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

The protozoan flagellate Histomonas meleagridis is the etiological agent of histomonosis, first described in 1893. It is a fastidious disease in turkeys, with pathological lesions in the caeca and liver, sometimes with high mortality. In chickens the disease is less fatal and lesions are often confined to the caeca. The disease was well controlled by applying nitroimidazoles and nitrofurans for therapy or prophylaxis. Since their introduction into the market in the middle of the previous century, research nearly ceased as outbreaks of histomonosis occurred only very rarely. With the ban of these drugs in the last two decades in North America, the European Union and elsewhere, in combination with the changes in animal husbandry, the disease re-emerged. Consequently, research programs were set up in various places focusing on different features of the parasite and the disease. For the first time studies were performed to elucidate the molecular repertoire of the parasite. In addition, research has been started to investigate the parasite's interaction with its host. New diagnostic methods and tools were developed and tested with samples obtained from field outbreaks or experimental infections. Some of these studies aimed to clarify the introduction of the protozoan parasite into a flock and the transmission between birds. Finally, a strong focus was placed on research concentrated on the development of new treatment and prophylactic strategies, urgently needed to combat the disease. This review aims to summarize recent research activities and place them into context with older literature.

KEYWORDS:

Diagnostics; Histomonas meleagridis; Histomonosis; Molecular repertoire; Treatment and prophylaxis

PMID:
25576442
DOI:
10.1016/j.vetpar.2014.12.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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