The first report of serratospiculiasis in Great Tit (Parus major) in Slovakia

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Serratospiculiasis is a parasitic disease caused by filariid nematodes of the genus Serratospiculum, the subfamily Dicheilonematinae. Serratospiculum spp. parasitizes the air sacs and members of this genus have been found in various species of Falcons, Bald Eagles and Cooper’s Hawk from all around the world. In the present study, infection with Serratospiculum was confirmed for the first time in the Great Tit in Slovakia. Nematode infestation was identified post mortem. Lesions in the respiratory system (airsacculitis, pneumonia) were associated with the presence of this nematode. Smears of the necrotic lesions in the crop and oesophagus contained the large numbers of embryonated eggs. Faecal samples were examined by flotation method and Serratospiculum eggs were found. Adult parasites were cleared in lactophenol solution and morphological analysis of male reproductive organs (shape of male nematode spicules) indicated the species Serratospiculum amaculata. Scattered inflammatory cells were seen in the mucosal and submucosal layers of infected oesophagus and inflammatory foci were found mainly in the stroma of the air sacs.

The presence of the filariid nematode in the nonspecific species Great Tit (Parus major) common in Slovakia indicates the importance of monitoring of serratospiculiasis in the avian hosts. The parasite can cause serious health problems, even sudden death of their hosts, therefore suitable effective measures for their elimination should be implemented.

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