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Avian malaria and penguins in Brazil: epidemiological and pathological investigations of a disease with potential risks to avian conservation

Abstract

Penguins are sentinels of the marine environment and, through their observation and research, one can learn on the nature and intensity of human impacts on the oceans of the Southem Hemisphere. The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) inhabits Argentina, Chile and the Malvinas Islands, and visits the Brazilian continental shelf during its winter migration. A significant fraction of these animals eventually strand on Brazilian beaches with poor health conditions and are admitted in Rehabilitation Centers (RCs) distributed along the coast of Brazil. During their permanence in these institutions, one of the most important infectious diseases affecting these animals is avian malaria, a sudden and severe infection that results in high mortality rates. The severity and epizootic behavior of malarial infections in penguins have become an important concern for the international conservation community, raising preoccupation on its potential as a threat to the conservation of these birds if the disease were to spread in an uncertain climatic future. Although there are numerous reports of avian malaria outbreaks in captive penguins, there are no studies clarifying the distribution of that disease in penguins in Brazil, nor is it clear if the infection occurs in the wild or during rehabilitation at the RCs. It is still unclear why the plasmodial infection, typically mild or subclinical in most other avian groups, is so dramatic and severe to penguins; and it is yet unclear how effective are the classic preventive measures that were empirically implemented by zoos and RCs throughout the world. By combining molecular, serological, pathological and hematological diagnostic methods, this project aims to contribute to the understanding of infection, morbidity and mortality patterns of avian malaria in Magellanic penguins undergoing rehabilitation at several RCs along the Brazilian coast or kept in captivity. The results and the development of diagnostic tools will provide information that will help clarify the role of this disease as a potential threatening factor for the conservation of these birds, particularly in relation to possible global climate changes, and discuss preventive measures that may become necessary. (AU)

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Scientific publications (17)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
VANSTREELS, RALPH E. T.; MARACINI, PRYSCILLA; NIEMEYER, CLAUDIA; RUOPPOLO, VALERIA; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE L.. COMMON GOOSE BARNACLES LEPAS AUSTRALIS (THORACICA, PEDUNCULATA) ON DECEASED MAGELLANIC PENGUINS SPHENISCUS MAGELLANICUS (AVES). CRUSTACEANA, v. 85, n. 2, p. 241-248, . (09/53956-9, 10/51801-5)
THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; KOLESNIKOVAS, CRISTIANE K. M.; SANDRI, SANDRO; SILVEIRA, PATRICIA; BELO, NAYARA O.; FERREIRA JUNIOR, FRANCISCO C.; EPIPHANIO, SABRINA; STEINDEL, MARIO; BRAGA, ERIKA M.; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE LUIZ. Outbreak of Avian Malaria Associated to Multiple Species of Plasmodium in Magellanic Penguins Undergoing Rehabilitation in Southern Brazil. PLoS One, v. 9, n. 4, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; DA SILVA-FILHO, RODOLFO PINHO; MIYAJI KOLESNIKOVAS, CRISTIANE KIYOMI; CAMPOS BHERING, RENATA CRISTINA; RUOPPOLO, VALERIA; EPIPHANIO, SABRINA; AMAKU, MARCOS; FERREIRA JUNIOR, FRANCISCO CARLOS; BRAGA, ERIKA MARTINS; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE LUIZ. Epidemiology and pathology of avian malaria in penguins undergoing rehabilitation in Brazil. VETERINARY RESEARCH, v. 46, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
BIZELLI, CAMILA C.; SILVA, SANDRIANA R.; DA COSTA, JESSICA D.; VANSTREELS, RALPH E. T.; ATZINGEN, MARINA V.; SANTORO, MARCELO L.; FERNANDES, IRENE; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE L.; FAQUIM-MAURO, ELIANA L.. Isolation and Characterization of IgM and IgY Antibodies from Plasma of Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus). AVIAN DISEASES, v. 59, n. 1, p. 79-86, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; UHART, MARCELA; RAGO, VIRGINIA; HURTADO, RENATA; EPIPHANIO, SABRINA; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE LUIZ. Do blood parasites infect Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) in the wild? Prospective investigation and climatogeographic considerations. Parasitology, v. 144, n. 5, p. 698-705, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; FERREIRA JUNIOR, FRANCISCO C.; DUTRA, DANIELA DE ANGELI; EPIPHANIO, SABRINA; BRAGA, ERIKA M.; PISTORIUS, PIERRE A.; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE LUIZ. Investigation of Babesia sp in pygoscelid penguins at the South Shetland Islands. POLAR RESEARCH, v. 37, n. 1, . (09/53956-9, 10/51801-5)
THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; HURTADO, RENATA; EWBANK, ANA CAROLINA; BERTOZZI, CAROLINA PACHECO; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE LUIZ. Lesions associated with drowning in bycaught penguins. DISEASES OF AQUATIC ORGANISMS, v. 121, n. 3, p. 241-248, . (10/51801-5)
ANA CAROLINA EWBANK; RICARDO DE FRANCISCO STREFEZZI; CARLOS SACRISTÁN; CRISTIANE KIYOMI MIYAJI KOLESNIKOVAS; ARYSE MARTINS; LUIS FELIPE SILVA PEREIRA MAYORGA; RALPH ERIC THIJL VANSTREELS; JOSÉ LUIZ CATÃO-DIAS. Avaliação morfométrica comparativa da hemossiderose hepática em pinguins-de-Magalhães (Spheniscus magellanicus) de vida livre infectados por diferentes subgêneros de Plasmodium spp.. Revista Brasileira de Parasitologia Veterinária, v. 28, n. 1, p. 68-79, . (09/53956-9, 10/51801-5)
RUOPPOLO, VALERIA; THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; WOEHLER, ERIC J.; RODRIGUEZ HEREDIA, SERGIO ANDRES; ADORNES, ANDREA CORRADO; DA SILVA-FILHO, RODOLFO PINHO; MATUS, RICARDO; POLESCHI, CARLA; GRIOT, KAREN; KOLESNIKOVAS, CRISTIANE K. MIYAJI; et al. Survival and movements of Magellanic penguins rehabilitated from oil fouling along the coast of South America, 2000-2010. Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 64, n. 7, p. 1309-1317, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; BRAGA, ERIKA MARTINS; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE LUIZ. Blood parasites of penguins: a critical review. Parasitology, v. 143, n. 8, p. 931-956, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; ADORNES, ANDREA CORRADO; CANABARRO, PAULA LIMA; RUOPPOLO, VALERIA; AMAKU, MARCOS; DA SILVA-FILHO, RODOLFO PINHO; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE LUIZ. Female-biased mortality of Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) on the wintering grounds. EMU: Austral Ornithology, v. 113, n. 2, p. 128-134, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; MIRANDA, FLAVIA R.; RUOPPOLO, VALERIA; DE ALMEIDA REIS, ANA OLIVIA; COSTA, ERLI SCHNEIDER; DE LIRA PESSOA, ADRIANA RODRIGUES; MACHADO TORRES, JOAO PAULO; TEIXEIRA DA CUNHA, LARISSA SCHMAUDER; PIUCO, ROBERTA DA CRUZ; VALIATI, VICTOR HUGO; et al. Investigation of blood parasites of pygoscelid penguins at the King George and Elephant Islands, South Shetlands Archipelago, Antarctica. POLAR BIOLOGY, v. 37, n. 1, p. 135-139, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
GASTAL, SILVIA B.; MASCARENHAS, CAROLINA S.; THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; RUAS, JERONIMO L.. Rhinonyssus sphenisci (Acari: Rhinonyssidae) in Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus). POLAR BIOLOGY, v. 41, n. 3, p. 487-490, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
GALLO, LUCIANA; THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; COOK, ROBERT A.; KARESH, WILLIAM B.; UHART, MARCELA. Hematology, plasma biochemistry, and trace element reference values for free-ranging adult Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus). POLAR BIOLOGY, v. 42, n. 4, p. 733-742, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
EWBANK, ANA CAROLINA; STREFEZZI, RICARDO DE FRANCISCO; SACRISTAN, CARLOS; MIYAJI KOLESNIKOVAS, CRISTIANE KIYOMI; MARTINS, ARYSE; SILVA PEREIRA MAYORGA, LUIS FELIPE; THIJL VANSTREELS, RALPH ERIC; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE LUIZ. Comparative morphometric evaluation of hepatic hemosiderosis in wild Magellanic penguins (Spbeniscus magellanicus) infected with different Plasmodium spp. subgenera. Revista Brasileira de Parasitologia Veterinária, v. 28, n. 1, p. 68-79, . (09/53956-9, 10/51801-5)
GRILO, M. L.; VANSTREELS, R. E. T.; WALLACE, R.; GARCIA-PARRAGA, D.; BRAGA, E. M.; CHITTY, J.; CATAO-DIAS, J. L.; MADEIRA DE CARVALHO, L. M.. Malaria in penguins - current perceptions. AVIAN PATHOLOGY, v. 45, n. 4, p. 393-407, . (10/51801-5, 09/53956-9)
VANSTREELS, R. E. T.; GARDINER, C. H.; YABSLEY, M. J.; SWANEPOEL, L.; KOLESNIKOVAS, C. K. M.; SILVA-FILHO, R. P.; EWBANK, A. C.; CATAO-DIAS, J. L.. Schistosomes and Microfilarial Parasites in Magellanic Penguins. Journal of Parasitology, v. 104, n. 3, p. 322-328, . (09/53956-9, 10/51801-5)

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