[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
Thoracic fluid (pleural fluid and clotted blood) from 206 foxes were examined for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii and 220 thoracic fluid samples were tested for Neospora caninum antibodies using indirect immunofluorescent antibody tests (IFAT). A total of 115 (56%) and six (3%) foxes had antibodies to T. gondii and N. caninum, respectively. The brains from 148 foxes were examined for histological lesions and pathological changes suggestive of parasitic encephalitis were observed in 33 (22%). Two thirds of these foxes had antibodies to T. gondii and one fox had antibodies to both T. gondii and N. caninum. PCR assays carried out on DNA extracted from the 33 brains with histological lesions were negative for N. caninum but one of the brains was positive for T. gondii. Microsporidian DNA was also amplified from the brains of two of these foxes. Sequencing these amplicons revealed 100% homology with Encephalitozoon (Septata) intestinalis in one fox and Encephalitozoon cuniculi in the second fox. This is the first report of Encephalitozoon infections in wildlife in Ireland.