Trypanosomosis (surra) caused by Trypanosoma evansi is quite common among horses where the parasite is endemic. In the present study, T. evansi was isolated from an infected horse and maintained by subinoculation in Swiss albino mice. At the peak of parasitemia (5 × 106 parasites per ml of blood), 0.25 ml of the tail blood from infected mice was inoculated intraperitoneally and subcutaneously to 2 groups of adult pigeons and 2 groups of pigeon nestlings. Four days after inoculation, the trypanosomes occurred in the peripheral circulation of pigeon nestlings, but no parasitemia was observed in adult pigeons. The body temperatures of infected nestlings increased to 104 F, whereas uninfected controls remained steady at 102 F; thus, elevated temperatures coincided with parasite presence in the peripheral circulation. A decrease in hemoglobin concentration of blood also was observed in infected nestlings. On microscopic examination, increases in length and breadth of trypomastigotes and vigorous flagellar movement of the parasites were observed. The virulence and pathogenicity of the parasites after adaptation to nestlings remained unchanged for albino mice as proved by the death of all subinoculated mice. Furthermore, polymerase chain reaction studies confirmed that the genomic DNA of trypanosomes in pigeon blood was the same as that of T. evansi. This is the first report of the establishment of T. evansi infection in pigeon nestlings.
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