A 47-day-old black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) kit was found dead in June 2016. Histologic examination revealed pyogranulomatous tubulointerstitial nephritis, pneumonia, and encephalitis, with intralesional microsporidia. Transmission electron microscopic examination showed microsporidia with ultrastructural characteristics consistent with Encephalitozoon spp. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and direct sequencing confirmed the presence of Encephalitozoon cuniculi genotype II. This organism has been reported in other Carnivora (i.e., canids, felids, mustelids, procyonids, otariids). In humans, it is generally described as an opportunistic pathogen in immunocompromised individuals. The source of infection in the quarantine facility remains unknown, although two groups of frozen feeder rat kidneys tested positive for E. cuniculi genotype II via PCR. Feeding whole prey to various zoo taxa carries some potential disease transmission risk.
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