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Evaluation of serum chemistry values associated with avian malaria infections in African black-footed penguins (Spheniscus demersus)

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The value profiles of 5 intracellular enzymes, 15 metabolites (with 2 associated ratios), and 3 electrolytes were monitored over time in 9 captive-reared African black-footed penguins (Spheniscus demersus) with different avian malaria clinical status: uninfected, subclinically infected, and clinically infected with fatal outcome. Fatal infections were caused byPlasmodium relictum. Numerous schizonts were visible in the lungs, liver, spleen, and interstitial tissue of the kidneys. The feference ranges of 23 serum clinical chemistry parameters and 2 ratios were established forS. demersus. The mean values obtained for 8 of 23 parameters of the infected penguins were signficantly different from those recorded for the uninfected birds, indicating impaired renal function, hepatic dysfunction, and nonspecific tissue damage related to the infestation with exoerythrocytic schizonts. Analysis of sensitivity, specificity, and negative and positive predictive values (PPVs) showed that gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase (GGTP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and creatinine reached PPVs and a specificity over 57% for avian malaria infections in penguins. Creatinine, ALT, and GGTP values should be consulted in evaluation of the clinical malaria status ofS. demersus.

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Correspondence to Thaddeus K. Graczyk.

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Graczyk, T.K., Cranfield, M.R. & Bicknese, E.J. Evaluation of serum chemistry values associated with avian malaria infections in African black-footed penguins (Spheniscus demersus). Parasitol Res 81, 316–319 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00931537

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  • Creatinine
  • Malaria
  • Alanine Aminotransferase
  • Chemistry Parameter
  • Impaired Renal Function