Non-cultured faecal and gastrointestinal seed samples fail to detect Trichomonad infection in clinically and sub-clinically infected columbid birds
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Trichomonosis, caused by the protozoan Trichomonas gallinae, is an emerging infectious disease in finches, and is more commonly found in columbids and raptors. Infections can be sub-clinical or cause morbidity and mortality, but the parasite is currently only detectable by incubation of an oral swab. Here, we test whether T. gallinae parasites can be detected by PCR from faecal or non-cultured samples from the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract of infected Turtle Doves (Streptopelia turtur). PCR did not detect T. gallinae parasites in any faecal samples screened, and in only 1 of 11 oral/gastrointestinal samples (from the mouth of a nestling suspected to have died from trichomonosis). We conclude that both oral swabs and parasite culture are still necessary to detect the sub-clinical presence of T. gallinae infection in birds.
KeywordsFaecal diagnostics Trichomonas Infection Oral swab Culture
This work was jointly funded by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Natural England through the Action for Birds in England partnership.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Faecal samples were collected from birds captured and handled under licence from the British Trust for Ornithology (to JCD and RCT). Oral swabs were taken under licence from the Home Office.