Veterinary Articles


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Serosurvey and diagnostic application of antibody titers to Aspergillus in avian species
Cray C, Watson T, Arheart KL
Avian Dis. 2009 Dec;53(4):491-4
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A multiyear study was conducted using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to measure antibody to address the application of the test to the diagnosis of aspergillosis in avian species. In general serostudies (n=1314), four avian groups (psittaciform, raptor, penguin, and zoo) were found to have samples with antibody reactivity. Penguin, raptor, and zoo groups were found to have higher levels of antibody to Aspergillus than the psittaciform group. Additional clinical information was collected on 303 cases, which resulted in the definition of presumptive normal, probable, and confirmed infection groups. Although the confirmed group was more likely to have antibody reactivity, the mean antibody index was not found to be significant between presumptive normal and probable or confirmed cases.


A review of aspergillosis in penguins
Xavier MO
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Aspergillosis is a rare disease in free-living penguins with little impact on the reproductive colonies of these animals, corresponding to a mortality rate about 3%. However, this disease shows a very different role when related to captive seabirds. In captivity, aspergillosis has been described in a great variety of penguin species and associated with stress, change in habitat, handling, injury or other concomitant diseases which promote a high susceptibility to primary infection with Aspergillus spp.


Aspergillosis: a limiting factor during recovery of captive magellanic penguins
Xavier MO, Soares MP, Meinerz ARM, Nobre MO, Osorio LG, da Silva Filho RP, Meireles MCA
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology (2007) 38:480-484
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The article describes the epidemiology, macroscopic and histological lesions as well as the isolation of Aspergillus flavus and A. fumigatus from Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) during recovery in the Center for Recovery of Marine Animals (CRAM - 32ºS/52ºW), over a period of two years. From January 2004 to December 2005 the Center received 52 Magellanic penguins, and 23% (12/52) died. Necropsies were performed and tissue samples were collected for histological and microbiological examination. From 12 dead animals, aspergillosis was confirmed in five animals, corresponding to 42% of the mortality. Granulomatous nodules were observed mainly on air sacs and lungs. Histologically, septate and branching hyphae, measuring 3-5 μm and PAS positive were found. Two of these cases were caused by A. fumigatus, two other by A. flavus, and in one the diagnostic was established by macroscopic lesions observed in the necropsy without sample collection for fungal isolation and identification. The five aspergillosis cases occurred in the first year of the study, when a disinfection program was not yet established in the CRAM. This paper points out the importance of aspergillosis in the rehabilitation process of captive penguins, and emphasize the necessity of an environmental disinfection on the aspergillosis prevention, mycosis that caused a high rate of mortality of the seabirds found on the Brazilian coast and admitted in the CRAM.


Development of an indirect ELISA for the detection of serum antibodies to Aspergillus fumigatus in captive penguins
German AC, Shankland GS, Edwards J, Flach EJ
Vet Rec. 2002 Apr 20;150(16):513-8
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Aspergillosis is a significant cause of mortality in captive penguins (Sphenisciformes). An indirect ELISA for the detection of Aspergillus fumigatus-specific immunoglobulin in penguins was developed and standardised by making use of a family-specific antiserum (anti-Aptenodyptes patagonica patagonicus). The results were calculated quantitatively as ELISA units, derived by polynomial regression analysis, and semi-quantitatively as end titres. Serum samples from 61 captive penguins were tested with the assay, and the results were compared with those obtained by counterimmunoelectrophoresis (CIE). The ELISA results correlated with the CIE results only when end titres were reported (R(s) = -0.676, P < 0.002). Fifty-seven of the penguins (93 per cent) were seropositive, but the detection of immunoglobulin did not correlate with clinical disease. At Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, Humboldt\'s penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) demonstrated higher seropositivity than king penguins (Aptenodyptes patagonicapatagonicus) (P = 0.022), but Humboldt\'s penguins at Fota Wildlife Park had a significantly higher seropositivity than Humboldt\'s penguins at Whipsnade (P = 0.035).


Systemic Aspergillosis in an Oiled Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus)
L. Carrasco , J. S. Lima JR , D. C. Halfen , F. J. Salguero , P. Sánchez-Cordón & G. Becker
J Vet Med B Infect Dis Vet Public Health. 2001 Sep;48(7):551-4
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This report describes a case of fatal aspergillosis caused by A. fumigatus during the recovery of an oiled Magellanic penguin. The possible role of aspergillosis as a possible complication responsible for the mortality of penguins surviving the first days of treatment for oil is emphasized.

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