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Rhinosporidiosis: a description of an unprecedented outbreak in captive swans (Cygnus spp.) and a proposal for revision of the ontogenic nomenclature of Rhinosporidium seeberi

F A Kennedy, R R Buggage, L Ajello
Journal of Medical and Veterinary Mycology 1995, 33 (3): 157-65
Rhinosporidiosis is a mucocutaneous zooanthroponotic disease caused by Rhinosporidium seeberi, a fungal-like organism of uncertain classification with an unknown mode of transmission. Over a 3 year period, 41 captive swans (Cygnus olor and C. atratus) developed conjunctival and cutaneous polypoid lesions diagnosed as rhinosporidiosis by histopathological examination including light and electron microscopy. Investigation of this avian outbreak, the first of its kind, provides additional insight into the epidemiology of this enigmatic aetiologic agent, which has yet to be isolated and cultivated in vitro. The occurrence of rhinosporidiosis in swans supports an aquatic environment as the reservoir for R. seeberi, which is often associated with exposure to water. We report the first known occurrence of rhinosporidiosis in 41 captive mute (C. olor) and Australian black (C. atratus) swans dwelling on a lake in a Central Florida city. Additionally, we review the development stages of R. seeberi and propose a revision in its ontogenic nomenclature to reflect its probable taxonomic classification as a member of the kingdom Fungi.

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