[MARMAM] New Manatee Publication - Open Access

Caryn Self-Sullivan cs1733 at nova.edu
Thu Nov 8 06:36:34 PST 2012

For those of you interested in manatees and disease, this new publication documents 4 cases of Toxoplasmosis in manatees in Puerto Rico.  A link to the full article is included in the citation, below.  Toxoplasmosis is common in the domestic cat (which is the definitive host forToxoplasma gondii, a parasitic protozoa ), but is a rare disease in manatees.  Only 2 previously reported cases are referenced in the paper; they include a manatee calf in Florida an adult manatee in Guyana.  

Excerpt from the paper:  "The mechanism of Toxoplasma gondii infection in manatees is intriguing because manatees are exclusively herbivorous, feeding on aquatic plants. Thus, ingestion of T. gondii infected meat or animal tissue is unlikely.  As in sea otters, land-based surface runoff may be a significant risk factor for T. gondii infection in Puerto Rican manatees with oocysts washing into freshwater streams and coastal waters via effluents contaminated by cat excrement."

NOTE:  if you are involved with manatee or dugong research, education, or conservation, you might want to register with Sirenian International (http://sirenian.org) and subscribe to the Sirenian Listserv:  http://www.lsoft.com/scripts/wl.exe?SL1=SIRENIAN&H=LISTSERV.TAMU.EDU

> Bossart, G.D., A.A. Mignucci-Giannoni, A.L. Rivera-Guzman, N.M. Jimenez-Marrero, A. Camus, R.K. Bonde,  J.P. Dubey and J.S. Reif.  2012.  Disseminated toxoplasmosis in Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) from Puerto Rico.  Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 101:139-144.  Available online via Open Access:  http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/dao/v101/n2/p139-144/
> Necropsies were conducted on 4 Antillean manatees Trichechus manatus manatus that were stranded in single events on the coastal beaches of Puerto Rico from August 2010 to August 2011. Three manatees were emaciated and the gastrointestinal tracts were devoid of digesta. Microscopically, all manatees had severe widespread inflammatory lesions of the gastro-intestinal tract and heart with intralesional tachyzoites consistent with Toxoplasma gondii identified by histological, ultrastructural and immunohistochemical techniques. The gastrointestinal lesions included severe, multifocal to diffuse, chronic-active enteritis, colitis and/or gastritis often with associated ulceration, necrosis and hemorrhage. Enteric leiomyositis was severe and locally extensive in all cases and associated with the most frequently observed intralesional protozoans. Moderate to severe, multifocal, chronic to chronic-active, necrotizing myocarditis was also present in all cases. Additionally, less consistent inflammatory lesions occurred in the liver, lung and a mesenteric lymph node and were associated with fewer tachyzoites. Sera (n = 30) collected from free-ranging and captive Puerto Rican manatees and a rehabilitated/released Puerto Rican manatee from 2003 to 2012 were tested for antibodies for T. gondii. A positive T. gondii antibody titer was found in 2004 in 1 (3%) of the free-ranging cases tested. Disease caused by T. gondii is rare in manatees. This is the first report of toxoplasmosis in Antillean manatees from Puerto Rico. Additionally, these are the first reported cases of disseminated toxoplasmosis in any sirenian. The documentation of 4 cases of toxoplasmosis within one year and the extremely low seroprevalence to T. gondii suggest that toxoplasmosis may be an emerging disease in Antillean manatees from Puerto Rico.
> KEY WORDS:   Toxoplasma gondii · Sirenian · Gastroenteritis · Enterocolitis · Myocarditis ·Emerging disease

Caryn Self-Sullivan, Ph.D.
Adjunct Faculty, Nova Southeastern University
NSU Email:  cs1733 at nova.edu

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