Disseminated Unicellular Green Algal Infection in Two Sheep in India

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  • * Division of Mycotic Diseases
  • Division of Host Factors, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia 30333
  • Veterinary Biological and Research Institute, Hyderabad 500028 (A.P.), India
  • § The Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar 243122 (U.P.), India

Unicellular green algae infected and disseminated in two adult Nellore brown rams in India. At necropsy multiple green lesions were observed in the lungs, liver and kidneys of both sheep. Histological examination revealed necrotizing granulomas that contained numerous spheroidal to elliptical organisms ranging from 5–20 µm in diameter. These organisms occurred in several reproductive stages: small (5–9 µm) single, undifferentiated cells; intermediate (9–15 µm) cells undergoing nuclear and cytoplasmic cleavage; and large, mature, endosporulating cells containing two to six or more endospores. In addition, occasional large (20–35 µm), round thick-walled forms were among the typical cells. The cytoplasm of the algal cells contained numerous, large, irregularly-shaped and densely packed granules of varying sizes, which were strongly stained by the Gridley fungus, periodic acid-Schiff, and Gomori methenamine silver procedures. Electron microscopic studies revealed chloroplasts in the cytoplasm of these organisms. The chloroplasts consisted of smoothly contoured electron-lucent or electron-dense granules, 0.5 to 3.0 µm in diameter, that were either surrounded by or contiguous to two or more tightly appressed membranes or multidisc bands. Some of the alternating membranes appeared to be spirally twisted or associated with several cytoplasmic granules in one plane of section. This is the first record of algal infections in India.