Detection of Chlamydia psittaci in Harris´s hawks (Parabuteo unicinctus) admitted to a rehabilitation center of Buenos Aires city, Argentina.

Detection of Chlamydia psittaci in Harris´s hawks (Parabuteo unicinctus) admitted to a rehabilitation center of Buenos Aires city, Argentina.

Javier Aníbal OrigliaWilk

Maria J. Madariaga, Javier A. Origlia, María L. Teijeiro, Juan C. Sassaroli, Federico Bondone, María E. Cadario 

Chlamydia psittaci is a zoonotic bacterium that affects birds and mammals. Chlamydia psittaci infections have been described in more than 400 species of birds, with variable clinical symptoms and mortality. The Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve, is the largest protected natural area of Buenos Aires city (CABA). There, works a wildlife rehabilitation center which receives animals from CABA and the province of Buenos Aires.  The aim of this study was to establish the presence of C. psittaci and to identify genotypes in Harris’s hawks (Parabuteo unicinctus) admitted to such rehabilitation center. Cloacal swabs and different organs from Harris’s hawks were processed for diagnosis of C. psittaci. DNA was extracted using a commercial method and a real-time PCR assay was performed with specific primers to detect Chlamydiaceae family (23SrRNA gene). Chlamydia spp positive samples by real-time PCR underwent a specific C. psittaci nested-PCR (OmpA gene) and were cultured in Vero cells. The isolates were identified by immunofluorescence with monoclonal anti-LPS-FICT and with a Chlamydiaceae specific real-time PCR (23SrRNA gene). Nested-PCR specific products were purified and sequenced. All the sequences obtained were analyzed with the programs BIOEDIT7.2 and MEGA7.0. Between 2014-2018, samples from 45 Harris´s hawks (26 cloacal swabs and 19 organs) were processed. Three samples were positive with a frequency of C. psittaci of 6.6% (3/45). Two samples were characterized as genotype A and one as genotype E; from the latter, isolation was achieved. None of the birds showed symptoms compatible with avian chlamydiosis. This is the first report of C. psittaci in Harris´s hawk and the presence of genotype E in Argentina. It is an important finding for public health due to the human-bird interaction that is generated during the rescue and rehabilitation stages of the birds. This work was partly funded by FOCANLIS 2015.

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