ABSTRACT

Here, we report confirmation of sarcocysts of Sarcocystis jamaicensis in an experimental intermediate host, IFN-γ gene knockout (KO) mice orally inoculated sporocysts from its natural definitive host, a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) (RTH). A RTH submitted to the Carolina Raptor Center, Huntersville, North Carolina, was euthanized because it could not be rehabilitated and released. Fully sporulated sporocysts from intestinal scrapings of the RTH were orally fed to 2 laboratory-reared outbred Swiss Webster mice (SW; Mus musculus) and to 2 KO mice. The sporocysts were infective for KO mice but not to SW mice. Both SW mice remained asymptomatic, and neither schizonts nor sarcocysts were found in their tissues when euthanized on day 54 post-inoculation (PI). The KO mice developed neurological signs and were necropsied 38–54 days PI. Schizonts/merozoites were found in both KO mice euthanized and they were confined to the brain. The predominant lesion was meningoencephalitis. Microscopic sarcocysts were found in muscles of both KO mice. When viewed with light microscopy, the sarcocyst wall appeared thin (<1 μm thick) and smooth. Ultrastructural details of sarcocysts are described.

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