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      Molecular Epidemiology of Giardia, Blastocystis and Cryptosporidium among Indigenous Children from the Colombian Amazon Basin


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          The incidence and prevalence of intestinal parasites in children is most likely due to lack of natural or acquired resistance and differences in behavior and habits closely related to environmental and socioeconomic determinants. The most important protozoa that parasitize humans are Giardia, Entamoeba, Blastocystis, and Cryptosporidium. These parasites present wide intraspecific genetic diversity and subsequently classified into assemblages and subtypes. The Amazon basin is the largest in the world and is the fifth freshwater reserve on the planet. Contradictorily, people living in these areas (Indigenous populations) have poor quality of life, which favors the infection of diseases of fecal-oral transmission. The aim of this work was to unravel the molecular epidemiology of Giardia, Blastocystis and Cryptosporidium across four communities (Puerto Nariño, San Juan del Soco, Villa Andrea and Nuevo Paraíso). We obtained 284 fecal samples from children under 15 years old that were analyzed by direct microscopy (261 samples) and Real Time PCR (qPCR) (284 samples). The positive samples for these protozoa were further characterized by several molecular markers to depict assemblages and subtypes. We observed a frequency of Giardia infection by microscopy of 23.7% (62 samples) and by qPCR of 64.8% (184 samples); for Blastocystis by microscopy of 35.2% (92 samples) and by qPCR of 88.7% (252 samples) and for Cryptosporidium only 1.9% (5 samples) were positive by microscopy and qPCR 1.8% (5 samples). Regarding the Giardia assemblages, using the glutamate dehydrogenase ( gdh) marker we observed AI, BIII and BIV assemblages and when using triose phosphate isomerase ( tpi) we observed assemblages AI, AII, BIII and BIV. In contrast, Blastocystis STs detected were 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. Lastly, the species C. viatorum, C. hominis (with the subtypes IdA19 and IaA12R8) and C. parvum (with the subtype IIcA5G3c) were identified. We observed a high profile of zoonotic transmission regarding the Giardia assemblages and Blastocystis STs/alleles. Also, we highlight the elevated frequency of infection by these two protozoans suggesting an active transmission in the area. Our findings reinforces the need to deploy better epidemiological surveillance systems for enteric pathogens in the area.

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          Zoonotic potential and molecular epidemiology of Giardia species and giardiasis.

          Molecular diagnostic tools have been used recently in assessing the taxonomy, zoonotic potential, and transmission of Giardia species and giardiasis in humans and animals. The results of these studies have firmly established giardiasis as a zoonotic disease, although host adaptation at the genotype and subtype levels has reduced the likelihood of zoonotic transmission. These studies have also identified variations in the distribution of Giardia duodenalis genotypes among geographic areas and between domestic and wild ruminants and differences in clinical manifestations and outbreak potentials of assemblages A and B. Nevertheless, our efforts in characterizing the molecular epidemiology of giardiasis and the roles of various animals in the transmission of human giardiasis are compromised by the lack of case-control and longitudinal cohort studies and the sampling and testing of humans and animals living in the same community, the frequent occurrence of infections with mixed genotypes and subtypes, and the apparent heterozygosity at some genetic loci for some G. duodenalis genotypes. With the increased usage of multilocus genotyping tools, the development of next-generation subtyping tools, the integration of molecular analysis in epidemiological studies, and an improved understanding of the population genetics of G. duodenalis in humans and animals, we should soon have a better appreciation of the molecular epidemiology of giardiasis, the disease burden of zoonotic transmission, the taxonomy status and virulences of various G. duodenalis genotypes, and the ecology of environmental contamination.
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            Zoonotic potential of Giardia.

            Giardia duodenalis (syn. Giardia lamblia and Giardia intestinalis) is a common intestinal parasite of humans and mammals worldwide. Assessing the zoonotic transmission of the infection requires molecular characterization as there is considerable genetic variation within G. duodenalis. To date eight major genetic groups (assemblages) have been identified, two of which (A and B) are found in both humans and animals, whereas the remaining six (C to H) are host-specific and do not infect humans. Sequence-based surveys of single loci have identified a number of genetic variants (genotypes) within assemblages A and B in animal species, some of which may have zoonotic potential. Multi-locus typing data, however, has shown that in most cases, animals do not share identical multi-locus types with humans. Furthermore, interpretation of genotyping data is complicated by the presence of multiple alleles that generate "double peaks" in sequencing files from PCR products, and by the potential exchange of genetic material among isolates, which may account for the non-concordance in the assignment of isolates to specific assemblages. Therefore, a better understanding of the genetics of this parasite is required to allow the design of more sensitive and variable subtyping tools, that in turn may help unravel the complex epidemiology of this infection. Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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              DNA barcoding of blastocystis.

              We have developed a simple method for subtyping the intestinal protistan parasite Blastocystis using an approach equivalent to DNA barcoding in animals. Amplification of a 600 bp region of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene followed by single primer sequencing of the PCR product provides enough data to assign isolates to specific subtypes unambiguously. We believe that this approach will prove useful in future epidemiological studies.

                Author and article information

                Front Microbiol
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbiol.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                21 February 2017
                : 8
                1Facultad de Medicina, Departamento de Salud Pública, Universidad Nacional de Colombia Bogotá, Colombia
                2Grupo de Investigaciones Microbiológicas-UR, Programa de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Matemáticas, Universidad del Rosario Bogotá, Colombia
                3Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA, USA
                Author notes

                Edited by: Dongsheng Zhou, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, China

                Reviewed by: Anastasios D. Tsaousis, University of Kent, UK; Antonio Frangipane di Regalbono, University of Padua, Italy

                *Correspondence: Juan D. Ramírez juand.ramirez@ 123456urosario.edu.co

                This article was submitted to Infectious Diseases, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology

                Copyright © 2017 Sánchez, Munoz, Gómez, Tabares, Segura, Salazar, Restrepo, Ruíz, Reyes, Qian, Xiao, López and Ramírez.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 67, Pages: 14, Words: 10200
                Funded by: Dirección de Investigación, Universidad Nacional de Colombia 10.13039/501100002945
                Award ID: 15-2015
                Original Research


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