Molecular identification of encephalitozoon hellem in an ostrich.
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Microsporidia are obligate, intracellular, eukaryotic parasites found in a wide variety of vertebrate and invertebrate hosts. Scientific literature contains a small number of reports of these parasites in psittacine hosts, and recently microsporidiosis was reported in the first nonpsittacine host, an ostrich. DNA was extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded ostrich tissues, and a portion of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene was sequenced to identify the microsporidian species. The organisms were identified as Encephalitozoon hellem, a parasite species that was first described in immunocompromised humans and recently reported in three psittacine species.
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