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Anthropozoonotic significance, risk factors and spatial distribution of Giardia spp. infections in quenda (Isoodon obesulus) in the greater Perth region, Western Australia

Hillman, Alison E., Ash, Amanda L., Lymbery, Alan J., Thompson, R.C. Andrew
International journal for parasitology 2019 v.9 pp. 42-48
Cryptosporidium, Giardia canis, Giardia lamblia, Isoodon obesulus, Siphonaptera, anthropogenic activities, domestic animals, genotype, humans, parasites, population density, public health, risk factors, shrublands, synergism, urbanization, wildlife, wildlife diseases, Western Australia
Giardia spp. infections in wildlife populations have been linked to anthropogenic sources of infection and public health risk in a diversity of wildlife species and ecological locations worldwide. Quenda (Isoodon obesulus) remain in many urbanised areas of Perth, Western Australia, and can be gregarious in their interactions with humans and domestic animals. In a previous study, a high prevalence of Giardia spp. infection was identified amongst quenda trapped in urbanised environments and bushland in Perth, Western Australia. This study aimed to expand on that finding, by: identifying and estimating the prevalence of particular species of Giardia infecting quenda, and thus clarifying their anthropozoonotic/public health significance; identifying risk factors for Giardia spp. infection; and investigating putative associations between infection and indicators of ill health. Giardia spp. infections in Perth quenda are overwhelmingly of the host-adapted, non-zoonotic Giardia peramelis (apparent prevalence 22.2%; 95% CI 17.7–27.4%), indicating that quenda are not a substantial veterinary public health risk regarding this parasite genus. However, one case each of Giardia duodenalis and Giardia canis genotype D were identified in quenda trapped in urbanised environments (apparent prevalences 0.4%; 95% CI 0.1–1.9%). In quenda, Giardia spp. infection is associated with Cryptosporidium infection and flea infection intensity, which may reflect host population density, or regarding Cryptosporidium spp., similar transmission pathways or synergistic interactions between these taxa within the host. Giardia spp. infection is not associated with the measured indicators of ill health in Perth quenda, but this finding is representative of Giardia peramelis only, given the apparent rarity of other Giardia sp. infections in this study.