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A rare Cryptosporidium parvum genotype associated with infection of lambs and zoonotic transmission in Italy

Cacciò, Simone M., Sannella, Anna Rosa, Mariano, Valeria, Valentini, Silvia, Berti, Franco, Tosini, Fabio, Pozio, Edoardo
Veterinary parasitology 2013 v.191 no.1-2 pp. 128-131
Cryptosporidium parvum, DNA, appetite, bacteria, calves, children, cows, cryptosporidiosis, diarrhea, farms, feces, fever, gastroenteritis, genes, genotype, genotyping, humans, lambs, microscopy, mortality, oocysts, parasites, polymerase chain reaction, sequence analysis, sons, viruses, Italy
An outbreak of cryptosporidiosis occurred in a mixed sheep/cattle farm of Central Italy in October 2011. A total of 450 ovines (250 sheep and 200 lambs) and 140 bovines (130 cows and 10 calves) were housed in two separated units, at the time of the outbreak. About half of the lambs had diarrhea due to Cryptosporidium sp. with a mortality rate of 80%; calves were not infected. Genomic DNA was extracted from an archived slide and from fecal specimens, and the parasite was identified as Cryptosporidium parvum by PCR and sequence analysis at the CpA135 gene. Genotyping at the GP60 gene showed the presence of a very rare genotype, IIaA20G2R1. Shortly after the outbreak was identified, the son of the farm's owner, aged 18 months, experienced an acute gastroenteritis and was hospitalized due to recurrent episodes of diarrhea, fever, vomiting and lack of appetite. The feces tested negative for bacteria and viruses, whereas cryptosporidiosis was diagnosed by microscopy and an immunochromatographic test. Molecular typing identified the C. parvum genotype IIaA20G2R1 in the feces of the child. This is the first case of transmission of cryptosporidiosis in Italy involving lambs as source of oocysts infectious to humans.