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Prevalence and phylogenetic analysis of Cryptosporidium infections in Yezo sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) in the Tokachi sub-prefecture of Hokkaido, Japan

Shirozu, Takahiro, Soga, Akira, Morishita, Yu-ki, Seki, Nobuaki, Ko-ketsu, Mami, Fukumoto, Shinya
Parasitology international 2020 v.76 pp. 102064
Cervus nippon, Cryptosporidium parvum, animal diseases, deer, feces, foodborne illness, game meat, genotype, humans, parasites, phylogeny, polymerase chain reaction, risk, surveys, Japan
The Yezo sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) on the island of Hokkaido, Japan are currently recognized as overabundant. Hunting is used to control the deer population, and this has increased the supply of game meat, which is associated with a high risk of various food-borne infections. Additionally, the sub-prefecture Tokachi has a dense population of livestock, which are potentially at risk of cross-species infections from the deer. In this study, we undertook the first analysis of the incidence of Cryptosporidium infection in the Yezo sika deer in the Tokachi area using polymerase chain reaction testing and phylogenetic analysis. Polymerase chain reaction analysis showed Cryptosporidium species present in 7.5% of fecal samples (13/173) collected from deer hunted between 2016 and 2017. However, the zoonotic Cryptosporidium paruvm parasite was not detected in the phylogenetic analysis; when sequenced, all species in the positive samples matched the Cryptosporidium deer genotype. However, deer may act as a reservoir of the zoonotic Cryptosporidium parvum parasite, which affects both humans and livestock. Therefore, we recommend the continuation of surveys of the incidence of Cryptosporidium infections in Yezo sika deer.