Molecular Epidemiology of Avian Malaria in Wild Breeding Colonies of Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins in South Americ
SALLABERRY-PINCHEIRA, N., GONZALEZ-ACUÑA, D., HERRERA-TELLO, Y., DANTAS, G., LUNA-JORQUERA, G., FRERE, E., VALDES-VELASQUEZ, A., SIMEONE, A., AND VIANNA, J.
Lugar: Berlin; Año: 2014 vol. 12 p. 267 - 277
Avian malaria is a disease caused by species of the genera Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, andPlasmodium.It affects hundreds of bird species, causing varied clinical signs depending on the susceptibility of the host species.Although highmortality has been reported in captive penguins, limited epidemiological studies have been conductedin wild colonies, and isolated records of avian malaria have been reported mostly from individuals referred torehabilitation centers. For this epidemiological study,we obtained blood samples from501 adultHumboldt and 360adult Magellanic penguins from 13 colonies throughout South America. To identify malaria parasitaemia, weamplified the mtDNA cytochrome b for all three parasite genera. Avian malaria was absent in most of the analyzedcolonies, with exception of the Punta San Juan Humboldt penguin colony, in Peru, where we detected at least twonew Haemoproteus lineages in three positive samples, resulting in a prevalence of 0.6% for the species. The lowprevalence of avianmalaria detected in wild penguins could be due to two possible causes:Alowincidence,with highmorbidity and mortality in wild penguins or alternatively, penguins sampled in the chronic stage of the disease(during which parasitaemia in peripheral blood samples is unlikely) would be detected as false negatives.