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Sanitary evaluation of Brazilian sirenians (Trichechus inunguis and Trichechus manatus manatus): detection of coccidia, flagellate and microsporidia infections

Grant number: 18/20681-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2019
Effective date (End): January 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Principal Investigator:Rodrigo Martins Soares
Grantee:Thalita Faita
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (FMVZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Emerging infectious and parasitic diseases may have serious implications for the conservation status of vulnerable wild species, and it is well known that aquatic mammals are exposed to a wide variety of infections. However, there is a shortage of scientific information regarding the prevalence of pathogenic microorganisms in Amazonian manatees (Trichechus inunguis) and in Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus), both sirenians with occurrence in Brazil, classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, and as in danger of extinction in the Official National List of Endangered Species. Among the protozoa with sanitary relevance, the families Sarcocystidae and Cryptosporidiidae stand out in the phylum Apicomplexa, and, in the phylum Sarcomastigophora, the Giardia. In addition, pathogens from the phylum Microsporidia, which is currently classified in the Fungi kingdom, are prominent as cause of emerging diseases in aquatic animals, with potential impact on ecological communities. Therefore, the present proposal aims to perform diagnostic screening to investigate the occurrence of pathogenic microorganisms in sirenians of the T. inunguis and T. manatus manatus species, from captivity and free-living animals, from maintenance, rehabilitation and reintroduction in nature programs, in the Northeast and North regions of Brazil. Feces samples from live and dead animals will be used for the identification of Giardia spp., Cryptosporidium spp. and microsporidia, as well as blood samples from live animals to investigate anti - Toxoplasma gondii antibodies, and tissue samples from dead animals for identification of Sarcocystidae family protozoans. Data collection of this nature is relevant for determining the health status of the populations of these free-living and captive animals in the covered regions, collaborating with the conservation of these species considered the most endangered aquatic mammals in Brazil. (AU)

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