Complex experimental studies of vertebrate host, vector, and parasite interactions are essential in understanding virulence, but are difficult or impossible to conduct if vector species are unknown. Subinoculation of erythrocytic meronts of avian malarial parasites into susceptible hosts can avoid this problem, but this approach omits early exoerythrocytic stages, e.g. cryptozoites and metacryptozoites, that normally develop from sporozoites.
In the last decade, house sparrow populations have shown a general decline, especially in cities. Avian malaria has been recently suggested as one of the potential causes of this decline, and its detrimental effects could be exacerbated in urban habitats. It was initially thought that avian malaria parasites would not have large negative effects on wild birds because of their long co-evolution with their hosts.
Avian malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by Plasmodium spp. protozoa. Although these parasites have been extensively studied in North America and Eurasia, knowledge on the diversity of Plasmodium, its vectors and avian hosts in Africa is scarce. In this study, we report on natural malarial infections in free-ranging sparrows (Passer domesticus) sampled at Giza Governorate, Egypt. Parasites were morphologically characterized as Plasmodium cathemerium based on the examination of thin blood smears from the avian host.
There is an increasing urgency in gaining greater understanding of the factors that affect vulnerability to extinction, given the current levels of species loss. Parasites often reduce host fitness and can thus exert an important influence on host population dynamics, exacerbating vulnerability to extinction. However, empirical support for the hypothesis that parasites can increase vulnerability to extinction is rare.
This study reports the case of a Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) that died from avian malaria while under care at a rehabilitation center in Espírito Santo, Brazil. The bird was rescued on October 2018, and remained under care until it died suddenly on January 2019. A blood smear produced 8 days before death was negative for parasites, whereas a blood smear produced post-mortem revealed a high parasitemia by a parasite resembling Plasmodium cathemerium.
Haemosporidian parasites of the genera Plasmodium, Leucocytozoon, and Haemoproteus are one of the most prevalent and widely studied groups of parasites infecting birds. Plasmodium is the most well-known haemosporidian as the avian parasite Plasmodium relictum was the original transmission model for human malaria and was also responsible for catastrophic effects on native avifauna when introduced to Hawaii.
The introduction of non‐native species and reductions in native biodiversity have resulted in substantial changes in vector and host communities globally, but the consequences for pathogen transmission are poorly understood. In lowland Hawaiʻi, bird communities are composed of primarily introduced species, with scattered populations of abundant native species. We examined the influence of avian host community composition—specifically the role of native and introduced species, as well as host diversity, on the prevalence of avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum) in the southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus).
Avian malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by Plasmodium spp. protozoa, and penguins are considered particularly susceptible to this disease, developing rapid outbreaks with potentially high mortality. We report on an outbreak of avian malaria in Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) at a rehabilitation center in Espírito Santo, southeast Brazil. In August and September 2015, a total of 89 Magellanic penguins (87 juveniles and 2 adults) received care at Institute of Research and Rehabilitation of Marine Animals.
The potential adaptive nature of this manipulation of mosquito behaviour is discussed in the light of previous studies on other malaria models.
Avian malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that affects multiple avian species and is caused by protozoans of the genus Plasmodium.