Leucocytozoon Sabrazesi

Synonyms: Leucocytozoon schueffneri Prowazek, 1912 pro parte.

Hosts: Chicken.

Location: The gametocytes are in the leucocytes and erythrocytes.

Geographic Distribution: Indochina, Malaya, India, Sumatra, Java.

Prevalence: Relatively uncommon except perhaps in Malaya. L. sabrazesi has been found in Indochina by Mathis and Leger (1910), in Malaya by Kuppusamy (1936), and in India by Ramanujachari and Alwar (1953), Ramaswami (1955) and Biswal and Naik (1958). In addition, de Haan (1911) reported a Leucocytozoon in the chicken in Java which he assigned to L. neavei (a species with elongate gametocytes occurring in the guinea fowl) but which was undoubtedly L. sabrazesi.

Morphology: The mature gametocytes are elongate and measure about 24 by 4 u according to Mathis and Leger (1910). According to Ramanujachari and Alwar (1953), the macrogametes average 22 by 6.5 u and the microgametocytes 20 by 6 u. The host cells are spindle-shaped, with long, cytoplasmic "horns" extending beyond the parasites, and measure about 67 by 6 u according to Mathis and Leger (1910). The host cell nucleus forms a narrow, darkly staining band along one side of the parasite. The macrogametes stain more darkly with Romanowsky stains than the microgametocytes, and have a more compact nucleus.

Life Cycle: Unknown.

Pathogenesis: According to Kuppusamy (1936), this species causes a disease in chickens characterized by anemia, pyrexia, diarrhea, paralysis of the legs and a ropy discharge from the mouth. Ramanujachari and Alwar (1953) observed similar signs in the bird they studied.

Remarks: Prowazek (1912) gave the name L. schueffneri to the forms he found in the chicken in Sumatra. He saw and illustrated both spindle-shaped and round host cells, but gave dimensions only for the spindle-shaped ones. These ranged in length from 45 by 66 u. He also observed granules in the host cell cytoplasm which stained red with Giemsa's stain. He stated that these granules were partially missing in L. caulleryi and L. sabrazesi and that he was establishing his new species because of this and also because of the difference in size between them and his form. However, the dimensions he quoted for L. sabrazesi were those of the parasite itself and not those of the host cell, and the dimensions he gave for L. schueffneri were those of the host cell and not those of the parasite itself. There is actually no significant difference in size between the two forms, and Prowazek's name becomes a synonym of L. sabrazesi and also, in part, of L. caulleryi. Prowazek also saw Trypanosoma in the same chicken, and thought it was a stage of Leucocytozoon.

The type of cell parasitized by Leucocytozoon has been the subject of some discussion (see under L. simondi, p. 276). The host cells containing mature gametocytes are so distorted as to be unrecognizable. Both Ramanujachari and Alwar (1953) and Ramaswami (1955) considered them to be erythrocytes. In the slide sent to me by Biswal, I saw one very young parasite in a cell which appeared to be an erythrocyte, but the host cells of other, somewhat older parasites did not appear to be. Further study is needed on this point. At any rate, the parasites do not form hematin granules from hemoglobin.