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Molecular identification and epidemiological comparison of Cryptosporidium spp. among different pig breeds in Tibet and Henan, China

Zheng, Shuangjian, Li, Dongfang, Zhou, Chunxiang, Zhang, Sumei, Wu, Yayun, Chang, Yankai, Chen, Yuancai, Huang, Jianying, Ning, Changshen, Zhang, Gaiping, Zhang, Longxian
BMC veterinary research 2019 v.15 no.1 pp. 101
Cryptosporidium suis, Tibetan (swine breed), diarrhea, epidemiological studies, feces, genes, hosts, humans, landraces, microscopy, mixed infection, pathogens, piglets, polymerase chain reaction, public health, ribosomal RNA, sequence analysis, China
BACKGROUND: Cryptosporidium spp. are important zoonotic pathogens infecting a wide range of vertebrate hosts, and causing moderate to severe diarrhea in humans. Cryptosporidium infections are frequently reported in humans and animals worldwide, but little research has been done on local pig breeds such as Tibetan pigs and Yunan Black pigs and imported pig breeds such as Landrace pigs in China. Therefore, a total of 1089 pig fecal samples from four intensive farms in four areas of China, including Tibetan pigs from Gongbujiangda County (n = 180) and Mainling County (n = 434), Tibet, Yunan Black pigs from Sanmenxia, Henan Province (n = 246), and Landrace pigs from Kaifeng, Henan Province (n = 229), and were screened for the presence of Cryptosporidium with microscopy and nested PCR amplification of the small subunit rRNA gene. RESULTS: The total infection rate of Cryptosporidium in 1089 fecal samples of three different pig breeds was 2.11% (23/1089), and the infection rates of Tibetan pigs, Yunan Black pigs, and Landrace pigs were 0.49% (3/614), 0.41% (1/246), and 8.30% (19/229), respectively. The prevalence of Cryptosporidium infection was significantly higher in weaned piglets (1–2 months) (4.36%, 21/482) than in younger and older age groups (p < 0.01). Sequence analysis of positive samples revealed that there was no mixed infection in our study population, which included 12 cases of C. suis mono-infections (52.17%, 12/23) and 11 cases of C. scrofarum mono-infections (47.83%, 11/23). C. suis was identified in one pre-weaned piglet (< 1 month) and 11 weaned piglets (1–2 months), while C. scrofarum was only detected in 10 weaned piglets (1–2 months) and one finished pig (> 2 months). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report on the identification of Cryptosporidium spp. in Tibetan pigs, and our findings also elucidate the occurrence and distribution of Cryptosporidium in three different pig breeds in Tibet and Henan, China. More molecular epidemiological studies are required to better clarify the prevalence and public health significance of Cryptosporidium in different pigs.