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Health evaluation in Brazilian sirenian (Trichechus inunguis e Trichechus manatus manatus): investigation of Mycobacterium infection

Grant number: 19/22415-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2020
Effective date (End): March 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Principal Investigator:Lara Borges Keid
Grantee:Luiza Barbosa
Home Institution: Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos (FZEA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Pirassununga , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Sirenias or manatee are aquatic mammals that have tropical and subtropical distribution. In Brazil, there are two species, the Amazon manatee (Trichechus inunguis) that is endemic to the Amazon Basin and the marine or Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) that occurs on the west Atlantic coast. Both are classified as vulnerable regarding the conservation status, being threatened mainly by anthropogenic pressures such as hunting, accidental capture in fishing nets, and habitat reduction and pollution. The Brazilian conservation plan for sirenians includes, among its actions, the rescue, rehabilitation in captivity and the reintroduction of specimens in the natural environment. In this context, the occurrence of infectious diseases can play a relevant role, since it may compromise the health status of captive animals during rehabilitation or by allowing the introduction of pathogens in natural environment. Among the infectious diseases reported in aquatic mammals the mycobacterial infections should be emphasized, being associated with pathological lesions in the respiratory, digestive and cutaneous systems of various species of aquatic mammals, with particular relevance in captive animals. However, information about the occurrence of mycobacterioses in Brazilian sirenians is scarce. The objective of this study is to investigate the occurrence of Mycobacterium infections in Brazilian sirenians from rescue and rehabilitation facilities located in the North and Northeast regions of Brazil. The diagnosis will be based on the microbiological cultivation of tissue fragments in necropsied animals or nasal swabs of live animals. The identification of bacterial isolates will be based on partial sequencing of the gene coding for the 65 kDa heat shock protein in order to determine the Mycobacterium species. This proposal may bring important information regarding the frequency of occurrence of the infections and their association with pathological conditions. It may also assist in the future establishment of diagnostic protocols and in the protection of health of individuals involved in handling these animals, because of the zoonotic nature if the infection. (AU)