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Unexpected diversity of the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis in wildlife in Canada

Gesy, Karen M., Schurer, Janna M., Massolo, Alessandro, Liccioli, Stefano, Elkin, Brett T., Alisauskas, Ray, Jenkins, Emily J.
International journal for parasitology 2014 v.3 no.2 pp. 81-87
Canis latrans, Canis lupus, Echinococcus multilocularis, NADH dehydrogenase, Vulpes lagopus, Vulpes vulpes, adults, biogeography, eggs, feces, genetic variation, haplotypes, home range, hydatids, intermediate hosts, intestines, loci, mitochondria, parasites, pathogenicity, rodents, surveys, wildlife, wolves, Canada
Echinococcus multilocularis is a zoonotic cestode with a distribution encompassing the northern hemisphere that causes alveolar hydatid disease in people and other aberrant hosts. E.multilocularis is not genetically uniform across its distribution, which may have implications for zoonotic transmission and pathogenicity. Recent findings of a European-type haplotype of E. multilocularis in wildlife in one location in western Canada motivated a broader survey of the diversity of this parasite in wildlife from northern and western Canada. We obtained intact adult cestodes of E. multilocularis from the intestines of 41 wild canids (wolf – Canis lupus, coyote – Canis latrans, and red fox – Vulpes vulpes), taeniid eggs from 28 fecal samples from Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), and alveolar hydatid cysts from 39 potential rodent intermediate hosts. Upon sequencing a 370-nucelotide region of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) mitochondrial locus, 17 new haplotypes were identified. This constitutes a much higher diversity than expected, as only two genotypes (European and an Asian/North American) had previously been identified using this locus. The European-type strain, recently introduced, may be widespread in wildlife within western Canada, possibly related to the large home ranges and wide dispersal range of wild canids. This study increased understanding of the biogeographic distribution, prevalence and genetic differences of a globally important pathogenic cestode in northern and western Canada.