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Disseminated visceral coccidiosis in Eurasian cranes (Grus grus) in the UK
  1. M. F. O'Brien, BVetMed, CertZooMed, MRCVS1,
  2. M. J. Brown1,
  3. M. F. Stidworthy, MA, VetMB, PhD, FRCPath, MRCVS2,
  4. M. A. Peirce, PhD, CBiol, FSB FZS3,
  5. R. N. Marshall, CBiol, FSB, MRQA4,
  6. H. Honma, PhD5 and
  7. Y. Nakai, PhD6
  1. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7BT
  2. International Zoo Veterinary Group, Keighley Business Centre, South Street, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD21 1AG
  3. MP International Consultancy, 6 Normandale House, Normandale, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex TN39 3NZ
  4. Veterinary Laboratories Agency – Weybridge, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB
  5. Laboratory of Malariology, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
  6. Laboratory of Sustainable Environmental Biology, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University, Osaki, Miyagi 989-6711, Japan
  1. E-mail for correspondence michelle.obrien{at}

Clinical disease and mortalities due to disseminated visceral coccidiosis were identified for the first time in a group of captive juvenile Eurasian cranes (Grus grus) in the UK during 2008. Presumptive diagnosis was made from the finding of granulomatous nodules in the liver, spleen and other organs at gross postmortem examination, and confirmed histologically by the presence of intracellular coccidial stages within lesions. The species of coccidian was determined to be Eimeria reichenowi on the basis of faecal oocyst morphology and sequencing of 18S rDNA by PCR. A further outbreak of clinical disease occurred in the same enclosure in 2009, affecting a new group of juvenile Eurasian cranes and demoiselle cranes (Anthropoides virgo) and indicating the persistence of infective oocysts in the environment. Clinical sampling of birds during both years demonstrated positive results from examination of both faecal samples and peripheral blood smears.

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