Molecular Evidence of Sarcocystis Species Infecting Reptiles in Peninsular Malaysia
The genus Sarcocystis consists of intracellular coccidian protozoan parasites with the ability to invade muscle tissue and mature into sarcocysts, causing the zoonotic disease sarcocystosis. These parasites have an obligatory two-host life cycle, which correlates with prey-predator relationship. The distribution and prevalence of Sarcocystis in reptiles remains unclear, despite several previous reports. In this study, 54 faecal samples of various snake species and four faecal samples of several lizard species in Malaysia were examined for Sarcocystis through PCR amplification of the 18S rDNA sequence. Fourteen snake faecal samples were positive via PCR; however, only eight samples (14%) were found positive for Sarcocystis species, whereas four were positive for other genera and the identity of another three samples were unable to be determined. Further phylogenetic analysis of the 18S rDNA sequences revealed that the snakes were infected with either S. singaporensis, S. lacertae, or undefined Sarcocystis species which are closely related to either S. singaporensis or S. zuoi. Sarcocystis nesbitti infection was not identified in any of the infected snakes. This is the first report of identification of S. lacertae in the black-headed cat snake.
Fayer R, Esposito DH, Dubey JP. Human Infections with Sarcocystis Species. Clinl Microbiol Rev. 2015; 28:295-311.
Esposito DH, Freedman DO, Neumayr A, Parola, P. Ongoing outbreak of an acute muscular Sarcocystis-like illness among travellers returning from Tioman Island, Malaysia, 2011–2012. Euro Surveill. 2012; 17:20310.
Italiano CM, Wong KT, AbuBakar S, Lau YL, Ramli N, Syed Omar SF, Bador MK, Tan CT. Sarcocystis nesbitti Causes Acute, Relapsing Febrile Myositis with a High Attack Rate: Description of a Large Outbreak of Muscular Sarcocystosis in Pangkor Island, Malaysia, 2012. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014; 8:e2876.
Esposito DH, Stich A, Epelboin L, Malvy D, Han PV, Bottieau E, da Silva A, Zanger P, Slesak G, van Genderen PJ, Rosenthal BM, Cramer JP, Visser LG, Muñoz J, Drew CP, Goldsmith CS, Steiner F, Wagner N, Grobusch MP, Plier DA, Tappe D, Sotir MJ, Brown C, Brunette GW, Fayer R, von Sonnenburg F, Neumayr A, Kozarsky PE. Acute muscular sarcocystosis: an international investigation among ill travelers returning from Tioman Island, Malaysia, 2011–2012. Clin Infect Dis. 2014; 59:1401-10.
Mandour AM. Sarcocystis nesbitti n.sp. from the rhesus monkey. J Protozool. 1969; 16:353-354.
Yang ZQ, Wei CG, Zen JS, Song JL, Zuo YX, He YS, Zhang HF, Attwood SW, Chen XW, Yang GC, Zhou X, Quan X, Li CY, Han D, Liu AW, Lin P. A taxonomic re-appraisal of Sarcocystis nesbitti (Protozoa: Sarcocystidae) from the monkey Macaca fascicularis in Yunnan, PR China. Parasitol Int. 2005; 54:75-81.
Poulsen C, Stensvold C. Current Status of Epidemiology and Diagnosis of Human Sarcocystosis. J Clin Microbiol. 2014; 52(10): 3524-3530.
Tian M, Chen Y, Wu L, Rosenthal BM, Liu X, He Y, Dunams DB, Cui L, Yang Z. Phylogenetic analysis of Sarcocystis nesbitti (Coccidia: Sarcocystidae) suggests a snake as its probable definitive host. Vet. Parasitol. 2012; 183:373-6.
Lau YL, Chang PY, Subramaniam V, Ng YH, Mahmud R, Ahmad A, Fong MY. Genetic assemblage of Sarcocystis spp. in Malaysian snakes. Parasit Vectors. 2013; 6:257.
Tappe D, Stich A, Langeheinecke A, Von Sonnenburg F, Muntau B, Schäfer J, Slesak G. Suspected new wave of muscular sarcocystosis in travellers returning from Tioman Island, Malaysia, May 2014. Euro Surveill. 2014; 19:20816.
Elsheikha HM, Murphy AJ, Trembley SJ, Mansfield LS, Ghanam MS, el-Garhy MF. Molecular and microscopic techniques for detection of Sarcocystis neurona sporocysts in fecal samples. J Egypt Soc Parasitol. 2006; 36(2):713-25.
Dubey JP, Speer CA, Fayer R. Sarcocystosis of animals and man. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1989.
Lainson R, Paperna I. The life-cycle and ultrastructure of Sarcocystis ameivamastigodryasi n. sp., in the lizard Ameiva ameiva (Teiidae) and the snake Mastigodryas bifossatus (Colubridae). Parasite. 2000; 7:263-274.
Matuschka F, Bannert B. Cannibalism and autotomy as predator-prey relationship for monoxenous sarcosporidia. Parasitol Res. 1987; 74:88-93.
Abe N, Matsubara K, Tamukai K, Miwa Y, Takami K. Molecular evidence of Sarcocystis species in captive snakes in Japan. Parasitol Res. 2015; 114:3175-3179.
Jakel T, Burgstaller H, Frank W. Sarcocystis singaporensis: studies on host specificity, pathogenicity, and potential use as a biocontrol agent of wild rats. J Parasitol. 1996; 82:280.
Volf J, Modrý D, Koudela B, Šlapeta JR. Discovery of the life cycle of Sarcocystis lacertae Babudieri, 1932 (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae), with a species redescription. Folia Parasitol. 1999; 46:257-262.
Doležel D, Koudela B, Jirků M, Hypša V, Obornı́k M, Votýpka J, Modrý D, Slapeta JR, Lukeš, J. Phylogenetic analysis of Sarcocystis spp. of mammals and reptiles supports the coevolution of Sarcocystis spp. with their final hosts. Int J Parasitol. 1999; 29:795-798.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.