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Health evaluation of African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) in southern Africa

Title: Health evaluation of African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) in southern Africa.
Name(s): Parsons, Nola J., author
Gous, Tertius A., author
Schaefer, Adam M., author
Vanstreels, Ralph E.T., author
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Article
Date Issued: 2016-03-09
Summary: The African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is an endangered seabird that breeds along the coast of Namibia and South Africa, and disease surveillance was identified as a priority for its conservation. Aiming for the establishment of baseline data on the presence of potential pathogens in this species, a comprehensive health assessment (blood smear examination, haematology, biochemistry and serology) was conducted on samples obtained from 578 African penguins at 11 breeding colonies and a rehabilitation centre. There were 68 penguins that were seropositive for at least one of seven pathogens tested: avian encephalomyelitis virus, avian infectious bronchitis virus, avian reovirus, infectious bursal disease virus, Newcastle disease virus, Mycoplasma gallisepticum and Mycoplasma synoviae. All samples were seronegative for avian influenza virus subtypes H5 and H7 and infectious laryngotracheitis virus. The apparent prevalence of Babesia sp. and Borrelia sp. in blood smears was consistent with previous studies. Babesia-infected individuals had a regenerative response of the erythrocytic lineage, an active inflammatory response and hepatic function impairment. These findings indicate that African penguins may be exposed to conservation-significant pathogens in the wild and encourage further studies aiming for the direct detection and/or isolation of these microorganisms.
Identifier: 10.4102/ojvr.v83i1.1147 (doi), (uri), FAUIR000049 (IID)
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Use and Reproduction: © 2016. The Authors. Licensee: AOSIS. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
Owner Institution: FAU
Is Part Of: Onderstepoort J Vet Res.