Case report: Blindness associated with Learedius learedi trematode infection in a green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, of the northern Red Sea

Danny Morick, Vanessa M. Bachmann, Eli Shemesh, Ana Maria Botero-Anug, Ziv Zemach-Shamir, Zahi Aizenberg, Nadav Davidovich, Daphne W. Goldberg, Gaston Kan, Ron Ofri, Dan Tchernov, Yaniv Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Spirorchiid blood flukes are widespread in sea turtles, causing disease and mortality in their populations, with high prevalence in several ocean basins. Besides being leading parasitic causes of sea turtle strandings in several parts of the world, these infectious agents can cause endocarditis, vasculitis, thrombosis, miliary egg granulomas, and aneurysms, which ultimately may compromise the survival of green sea turtles. More severe cases may also result in multifocal granulomatous meningitis or pneumonia, both of which can be fatal. Herein, we report the first case of severe trematode infection, Caused by Learedius learedi, in a green sea turtle in the northern Red Sea; this infection is associated with bilateral blindness. Necropsy revealed multiple granulomas with intralesional trematode eggs in the optic nerve, eyes, spleen, heart, and lungs. The parasite was identified as Learedius learedi through specific primers of the ribosomal genome and COI sequences obtained from GenBank. Altogether, these findings emphasize the importance of recognizing the systemic nature of this particular fluke infection to ultimately protect the lives of these marine animals and ensure the sustainability of these species in the wild.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1258522
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Morick, Bachmann, Shemesh, Botero-Anug, Zemach-Shamir, Aizenberg, Davidovich, Goldberg, Kan, Ofri, Tchernov and Levy.

Keywords

  • blindness
  • green sea turtle
  • Learedius learedi
  • optic nerve
  • Red Sea
  • Spirorchiid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Veterinary (all)

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