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Molecular investigation of Cryptosporidium in farmed chickens in Hubei Province, China, identifies 'zoonotic' subtypes of C. meleagridis.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Cryptosporidium is a key genus of parasitic protists that infect humans and other vertebrates (mammals and birds). Birds are typically infected with C. avium, C. baileyi, C. galli and/or C. meleagridis, the latter of which is recognised as being zoonotic. Stimulated by the previous finding of C. meleagridis subtypes IIIbA21G1R1, IIIbA22G1R1 and IIIbA26G1R1 in diarrhoeic children in Wuhan city and environs in Hubei Province, China, we performed a molecular epidemiological survey to explore whether these or similar subtypes might occur in farmed chickens in this province. METHODS:PCR-coupled sequencing analyses of regions in the small subunit (SSU) of the nuclear ribosomal RNA and 60 kDa glycoprotein (gp60) genes were utilised to characterise Cryptosporidium in faecal samples from chickens (n = 471) from 14 farms from six distinct regions in Hubei Province. RESULTS:Cryptosporidium baileyi (33/471; 7.0%) and C. meleagridis (15/471; 3.2%) were identified in chickens on eight farms in five of the six distinct geographical regions. No significant age-associated difference in the prevalence of C. baileyi was evident, whereas the prevalence of C. meleagridis was significantly higher in younger (? 4 months) than in older chickens (> 4 months). For C. meleagridis, two subtype families, IIIb and IIIe, were defined; some of the subtypes (i.e. IIIbA26G1R1b and IIIbA22G1R1c) characterised here matched those identified previously in diarrhoeic children in Wuhan. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first molecular study reporting the genetic identity and prevalence of C. baileyi and C. meleagridis in chickens in Hubei. The findings suggest that C. meleagridis subtypes IIIbA26G1R1b and IIIbA22G1R1c are cross-transmissible between chickens and humans, raising awareness about the significance of birds as potential reservoirs of zoonotic variants of Cryptosporidium. Future studies might focus on investigating the prevalence of 'zoonotic' subtypes of Cryptosporidium meleagridis in various species of wild and domesticated birds, and on comparing them with those found in humans in China and other countries.

SUBMITTER: Liao C 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6114272 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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