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Cerebral cysticercosis in a wild Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) in Bhutan: a first report in non-domestic felids


Phuentshok, Yoenten; Choden, Kinley; Alvarez Rojas, Cristian A; Deplazes, Peter; Wangdi, Sonam; Gyeltshen, Kuenzang; Rinzin, Karma; Thapa, Nirmal Kumar; Tenzinla, Tenzinla; Dorjee, Dechen; Valitutto, Marc; Gilbert, Martin; Siriaroonrat, Boripat; Jairak, Waleemas; Piewbang, Chutchai; Sharma, Puspa Maya; Dema, Tshewang; Gurung, Ratna Bahadur (2021). Cerebral cysticercosis in a wild Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) in Bhutan: a first report in non-domestic felids. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 14:150-156.

Abstract

The endangered Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a keystone species playing an essential role in ecology as well as in the social and spiritual lives of the Himalayan people. The latest estimate of the Bengal tiger population in Bhutan accounts for 103 individuals. Infectious organisms, including zoonotic parasites causing high burden in human health, have received little attention as a cause of mortality in tigers. Taeniosis/cysticercosis, caused by the cestode Taenia solium, is considered one of the major neglected tropical diseases in Southeast Asia. We present here a case of neurocysticercosis in a Bengal tiger showing advanced neurological disease outside Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. After palliative care, the animal died, and necropsy revealed multiple small cysts in the brain. Here we show the presence of two genetic variants of T. solium in the parasite material collected based on PCR and sequencing of the complete cox1 and cytB genes. The sequences form a discrete branch within the Asia plus Madagascar cluster of the parasite. On other hand, tests for feline morbillivirus, feline calicivirus, canine distemper virus, Nipah, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, feline leukaemia and feline immunodeficiency virus were negative. In contrast, PCR for feline herpesvirus was positive and a latex agglutination test revealed an elevated antibody titer against Toxoplasma gondii (titer 1:256). The molecular examination of taeniid eggs isolated from the tiger faeces produced sequences for which the highest homology in GenBank is between 92% and 94% with T. regis and T. hydatigena. This fatal case of T. solium neurocysticercosis, a disease previously unrecorded in tigers or other non-domestic felids, demonstrates an anthropogenically driven transmission of a deadly pathogen which could become a serious threat to the tiger population.

Abstract

The endangered Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a keystone species playing an essential role in ecology as well as in the social and spiritual lives of the Himalayan people. The latest estimate of the Bengal tiger population in Bhutan accounts for 103 individuals. Infectious organisms, including zoonotic parasites causing high burden in human health, have received little attention as a cause of mortality in tigers. Taeniosis/cysticercosis, caused by the cestode Taenia solium, is considered one of the major neglected tropical diseases in Southeast Asia. We present here a case of neurocysticercosis in a Bengal tiger showing advanced neurological disease outside Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. After palliative care, the animal died, and necropsy revealed multiple small cysts in the brain. Here we show the presence of two genetic variants of T. solium in the parasite material collected based on PCR and sequencing of the complete cox1 and cytB genes. The sequences form a discrete branch within the Asia plus Madagascar cluster of the parasite. On other hand, tests for feline morbillivirus, feline calicivirus, canine distemper virus, Nipah, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, feline leukaemia and feline immunodeficiency virus were negative. In contrast, PCR for feline herpesvirus was positive and a latex agglutination test revealed an elevated antibody titer against Toxoplasma gondii (titer 1:256). The molecular examination of taeniid eggs isolated from the tiger faeces produced sequences for which the highest homology in GenBank is between 92% and 94% with T. regis and T. hydatigena. This fatal case of T. solium neurocysticercosis, a disease previously unrecorded in tigers or other non-domestic felids, demonstrates an anthropogenically driven transmission of a deadly pathogen which could become a serious threat to the tiger population.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Institute of Parasitology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Parasitology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
600 Technology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Parasitology
Life Sciences > Animal Science and Zoology
Health Sciences > Infectious Diseases
Uncontrolled Keywords:Animal Science and Zoology, Parasitology, Infectious Diseases
Language:English
Date:April 2021
Deposited On:18 Jun 2021 06:57
Last Modified:25 Jun 2024 01:40
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:2213-2244
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2021.02.003
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)