Fatal intestinal cryptosporidiosis of unknown source and unexplained epizootiology is reported in a neonatal captive African hedgehog (Ateletrix albiventris) and for the first time in a hedgehog species. The infection, confined to ileum, jejunum, and colon, was extremely severe in the lower jejunum where over 75% of the epithelial cells harbored the pathogen. The ileum and the jejunum displayed moderate and severe villus atrophy and mucosal hyperplasia. Lamina propria and mucosa were infiltrated by eosinophils, lymphocytes, and macrophages. Developmental stages of Cryptosporidium sp. produced a positive reaction with immunofluorescent antibody for detection of the human pathogen, Cryptosporidium parvum. Personnel of captive centers with hedgehogs should be alerted and undertake appropriate precautions to prevent zoonotic transmission. Commercially offered hedgehog-pets may pose a risk for Cryptosporidium infection for human immunodeficiency virus-infected people.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics