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Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. in poultry from Brazil

da Cunha, Maria Júlia Rodrigues, Cury, Márcia Cristina, Santín, Monica
Research in veterinary science 2018 v.118 pp. 331-335
Cryptosporidium, chickens, cryptosporidiosis, emus, feces, genes, genetic variation, guineafowl, host specificity, humans, markets, mixed infection, nucleotide sequences, ostriches, pheasants, quails, sequence analysis, turkeys, zoonoses, Brazil
Cryptosporidiosis is an important zoonotic disease caused by Cryptosporidium. Infections in birds are mainly caused by C. meleagridis, C. baileyi, and C. galli. C. meleagridis is the third most common cause of cryptosporidiosis in humans and the only Cryptosporidium species known to infect both birds and mammals. One hundred and fifty-five fecal specimens from different poultry species (chicken, turkey, ostrich, helmeted guinea fowl, quail, pheasant, and emu) were collected at local markets in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Twenty-three (14.8%) birds (20 chickens, 2 quails, and 1 turkey) were found Cryptosporidium-positive. This constitutes the first report of Cryptosporidium in turkeys from Brazil. Nucleotide sequence analysis identified C. meleagridis in chickens (15), a turkey (1), and a quail (1), C. baileyi in chickens (4) and a quail (1), and a mixed infection C. meleagridis/C. baileyi in a chicken (1). This is the first report of C. meleagridis in turkeys and quails from Brazil. Using the gp60 gene, three subtype families were identified, IIIa, IIIb and IIIg. Within subtype family IIIg, four subtypes were identified in chickens, two novel (IIIgA25G3R1 and IIIgA21G3R1) and two previously reported (IIIgA22G3R1 and IIIgA24G2R1). Within subtype family IIIb two subtypes were identified, IIIbA24G1R1 in a chicken and IIIbA23G1R1 in a quail. A novel subtype in the family IIIa was identified (IIIaA22G3R1) in a turkey. The finding of C. meleagridis subtypes previously identified in humans (IIIgA22G3R1, IIIbA24G1R1 and IIIbA23G1R1) indicates that they can be potentially zoonotic. Further subtyping studies that clarify genetic diversity of C. meleagridis are required to better understand host specificity, source of infection, and transmission dynamics of C. meleagridis.