Global production of chickens has trebled in the past two decades and they are now the most important source of dietary animal protein worldwide. Chickens are subject to many infectious diseases that reduce their performance and productivity. Coccidiosis, caused by apicomplexan protozoa of the genus Eimeria, is one of the most important poultry diseases. Understanding the biology of Eimeria parasites underpins development of new drugs and vaccines needed to improve global food security. We have produced annotated genome sequences of all seven species of Eimeria that infect domestic chickens, which reveal the full extent of previously described repeat-rich and repeat-poor regions and show that these parasites possess the most repeat-rich proteomes ever described. Furthermore, while no other apicomplexan has been found to possess retrotransposons, Eimeria is home to a family of chromoviruses. Analysis of Eimeria genes involved in basic biology and host-parasite interaction highlights adaptations to a relatively simple developmental life cycle and a complex array of co-expressed surface proteins involved in host cell binding.
This paper reports the experimental transmission of a bird parasite into jirds. Infective larvae of Cardiofilaria nilesi obtained from laboratory colonized Coquillettidia crassipes mosquitoes which had fed on an infected chicken were inoculated subcutaneously into jirds. The number of larvae per jird varied from 10 to 228. Microfilaraemia appeared 22 to 89 days after inoculation of the infective larvae. Experiments were carried out with 24 jirds through six generations extending over a period of 22 months and 17 produced patent infections. At present 8 infected jirds are being maintained in the laboratory; their patent periods ranging from 6 to 13 months. However, the longest patent period observed was about thirteen months. The percentage of adults recovered in autopsied jirds ranged from 0 to 40 with an average of 16. The chicken showed a microfilarial periodicity with the peak microfilarial density around 2200 hours. However, in jirds there was a change in sub-periodicity. This model in the jird may be very useful for the screening of filaricides and in immunological work.
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasitic protozoan that infects nearly one-third of humans. The present study was performed to isolate and genotype T. gondii from free-range ducks in Malaysia. Sera, heads, and hearts from 205 ducks were obtained from four states in Peninsular Malaysia, and 30 (14.63%) sera were found to be seropositive when assayed with the modified agglutination test (MAT > or = 1:6). All the positive samples were inoculated into mice, and T. gondii was successfully isolated from four individual duck samples (1.95%), which were initially found to be strongly seropositive (MAT > or = 1:24). The isolates were subjected to PCR-RFLP analysis, and two T. gondii strains were identified: type I and type II. This is the first reported study on the genetic characterization of T. gondii isolates from free-range farm animals in Southeast Asia.