Postmortem examinations of four pine martens which had died as a result of road accidents in Scotland revealed focal, granulomatous lesions in the heart and skeletal muscles of three of them. An immunoperoxidase staining technique showed that the lesions were due to infection with Hepatozoon species. A PCR-based assay was used to confirm the presence of Hepatozoon DNA in the infected tissues. The nucleotide base sequence of the PCR products suggested that the infecting organism was probably a new species of Hepatozoon, most closely related to, but distinct from, Hepatozoon canis. The pine martens were in good physical condition and there was no indication that the infection was causing ill health.
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