Pathology and case definition of Severe Perkinsea Infections of frogs

Veterinary Pathology
By: , and 



Severe Perkinsea infection (SPI) is an emerging disease of frogs responsible for mass mortalities of tadpoles across the United States. It is caused by protozoa belonging to the phylum Perkinsozoa that form a distinct group referred to as the Pathogenic Perkinsea Clade of frogs. In this work, we provide detailed description of gross and histologic lesions from 178 naturally infected tadpoles, including 10 species from 22 mortality events and 6 amphibian health monitoring studies from diverse geographic areas. On external examination, we observed abdominal distension (10, 5.6%), cutaneous erythema and petechia (3, 1.7%), subcutaneous edema (3, 1.7%), and areas of white skin discoloration (3, 1.7%). On macroscopic examination of internal organs, we found hepatomegaly (68, 38.2%), splenomegaly (51, 28.7%), nephromegaly (47, 26.4%), ascites (15, 8.4%), segmental irregular thickening and white discoloration of the intestine (8, 4.5%), pancreatomegaly (4, 2.2%), and pancreatic petechia (1, 0.6%). Histologically, over 60% of the liver (148/165, 89.7%), kidney (113/147, 76.9%), spleen (96/97, 99%), and pancreas (46/68, 67.6%) were invaded by myriad intracellular and extracellular Perkinsea hypnospore-like and trophozoite-like organisms. Numerous other tissues were affected to a lesser extent. Mild histiocytic inflammation with fewer lymphocytes or eosinophils was commonly observed in areas of infection that were not obscured by lympho-granulocytic hematopoietic tissue. In light of these observations, we suggest a logical pathogenesis sequence. Finally, we propose a “case definition” for SPI to promote standardized communication of results and prevent misdiagnosis with epidemiological and pathologically overlapping diseases such as ranavirosis.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Pathology and case definition of Severe Perkinsea Infections of frogs
Series title Veterinary Pathology
DOI 10.1177/0300985818798132
Volume 56
Issue 1
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher SAGE
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 10 p.
First page 133
Last page 142
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