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Multiple host-switching of Haemosporidia parasites in bats

Linda Duval12*, Vincent Robert13, Gabor Csorba4, Alexandre Hassanin1, Milijaona Randrianarivelojosia5, Joe Walston6, Thy Nhim78, Steve M Goodman109 and Frédéric Ariey2

Author Affiliations

1 Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, USM 504 et UMR 5202, 55-61 rue Buffon, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France

2 Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, Unité Epidémiologie moléculaire, 5, Boulevard Monivong, BP 983, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

3 Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UR 77, 213 rue La Fayette, 75480 Paris Cedex 10, France

4 Hungarian Natural History Museum, Department of Zoology, H-1083 Budapest, Ludovika tér 2, Hungary

5 Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Unité Paludisme, BP 1274, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar

6 Wildlife Conservation Society, Cambodia Program, #21, St 21 Sangkat Tonlé Bassac, Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

7 Phnom Tamao Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Center, Department of Forestry and Wildlife, 40 Norodom Boulevard, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

8 Care for Confiscated Wild Life, WildAid, St 99, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

9 Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605, USA

10 WWF, BP 738, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar

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Malaria Journal 2007, 6:157  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-6-157

Published: 29 November 2007



There have been reported cases of host-switching in avian and lizard species of Plasmodium (Apicomplexa, Haemosporidia), as well as in those infecting different primate species. However, no evidence has previously been found for host-swapping between wild birds and mammals.


This paper presents the results of the sampling of blood parasites of wild-captured bats from Madagascar and Cambodia. The presence of Haemosporidia infection in these animals is confirmed and cytochrome b gene sequences were used to construct a phylogenetic analysis.


Results reveal at least three different and independent Haemosporidia evolutionary histories in three different bat lineages from Madagascar and Cambodia.


Phylogenetic analysis strongly suggests multiple host-switching of Haemosporidia parasites in bats with those from avian and primate hosts.