Taylor & Francis, Avian Pathology, 4(44), p. 319-322
Neospora caninum is an intracellular protozoan parasite with a wide range of intermediate animal hosts. There is little information describing the prevalence and genetic characterization of N. caninum in bird hosts worldwide and in Iran. In this study, a total 217 brain samples of house sparrow (Passer domesticus) were examined for N. caninum presence by nested-PCR targeting the Nc-5 gene. Neospora caninum DNA was detected in 3.68% (8/217) of sparrows. Sequencing of the Nc5 genomic DNA revealed 97-99% of similarity with N. caninum sequences deposited in Genbank. To our knowledge, this study is the first molecular evidence of N. caninum DNA in bird hosts in Iran. The results of this study highlight the role of the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) in maintaining and spreading N. caninum infection to canines in the feral and domestic environment.