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Avian Dis. 1998 Oct-Dec;42(4):832-6.

Microsporidiosis in a young ostrich (Struthio camelus).

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  • 1United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Office of Public Health and Science, Athens, GA 30604, USA.


Microsporidia are obligate, intracellular, protozoan parasites of a wide variety of vertebrates and invertebrates. Confirmed reports of microsporidial infection of avian species are few (lovebirds, a parrot, and a group of budgerigar chicks). At slaughter, a 14-mo-old ostrich was found to have small intestinal serosal hemorrhages during postmortem inspection. Histologic examination of the small intestine revealed a chronic lymphoplasmacytic to purulent enteritis with mucosal hyperplasia, muscular hypertrophy, and numerous microsporidia that were located within the superficial enterocytes and the lamina propria. Microsporidia have a ubiquitous distribution in nature and are suspected as possible zoonotic agents.

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