Toxoplasma gondii infection in marine mammals is intriguing and indicative of contamination of the ocean environment with oocysts. T. gondii was identified in a Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) that had visceral and cerebral lesions. Tachyzoites were found in the lymph nodes, spleen, diaphragm, heart, adrenal glands, and brain. A few tissue cysts were found in sections of the cerebrum. The diagnosis was confirmed serologically, by immunohistochemical staining with T. gondii-specific polyclonal rabbit serum, and by the detection of T. gondii DNA. The genotype was determined to be type III by restriction fragment length polymorphisms of the SAG2 gene. This is the first report of T. gondii infection in a Hawaiian monk seal.
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