Trichomonas gallinae is a protozoan parasite commonly found in columbids, passerines, and several raptor species. Although T. gallinae is thought to spread between individuals and across species through shared water sources, little research has been conducted regarding the persistence of T. gallinae in the environment. To determine the persistence of T. gallinae in various communal water sources, we inoculated 1×106 trichomonads into 500 mL samples of distilled water, quarry water, bird bath water, and rain barrel water in two replicates. Aliquots of 0.5 mL were collected from each source at −1, 0, 15, 30, and 60 min; aliquots were incubated at 37 C and examined for trichomonads by light microscopy for five consecutive days. Live trichomonads were observed in all samples and at all sampling times except prior to inoculation (−1 min). The pH of water sources ranged from an average of 5.9 to 7.4 postsampling. Our findings indicate that T. gallinae can persist for up to 60 min in various water treatments and thus be infectious for birds drinking T. gallinae-contaminated water.
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Vol. 51 • No. 3