March 13, 2010
March 17 – Cryptosporidium serpentis
Today, millions of people are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, whether Irish or not. One of the legends surrounding St. Patrick is that he supposedly purged Ireland of snakes, so today I thought I’d feature a parasite that might have done the trick for ol’ Paddy, Cryptosporidium serpentis. Like its cousin, Cryptosporidium parvum, whom you’ve met before, C. serpentis is an apicomplexan parasite that produces very resistant oocysts that are passed out in the feces and can remain in the environment for long periods of time. These parasites have been very deadly in zoo snakes and also potentially among some pet snakes if they are housed in ways that they might be exposed to the infective oocysts.
Image comes from this paper.