Abstract

Hepatozoon species infections were detected in 4 of 5 heart samples from leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) in Korea examined by light microscopy and PCR. Microscopically, the schizonts of the Hepatozoon species were observed within the parasitophorous vacuoles of unidentified host cells that were located between myocytes. The schizonts were approximately 31 ± 4 × 19 ± 3 µm in size; 3 mature schizonts contained approximately 24, 25, and 35 merozoites. In analyses of the partial 18S rRNA gene sequence, the Hepatozoon species infecting the Korean leopard cats was closely related to Brazilian (99.2–99.8% identical) and Spanish (97.0–98.2% identical) isolates of Hepatozoon felis.

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