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      Molecular characterizations of Cryptosporidium spp. and Enterocytozoon bieneusi in brown rats ( Rattus norvegicus) from Heilongjiang Province, China


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          Cryptosporidium spp. and Enterocytozoon bieneusi are prevalent zoonotic pathogens responsible for the high burden of diarrheal diseases worldwide. Rodents are globally overpopulated and are known as reservoirs or carriers of a variety of zoonotic pathogens including Cryptosporidium spp. and E. bieneusi. However, few data are available on genetic characterizations of both pathogens in rodents in China. The aim of the present work was to determine the prevalence and genetic characterizations of Cryptosporidium spp. and E. bieneusi in brown rats ( Rattus norvegicus) from Heilongjiang, China.


          A total of 242 wild brown rats were captured in Heilongjiang Province of China. A fresh fecal specimen was collected directly from the intestinal and rectal content of each brown rat. All the fecal specimens were examined for the presence of Cryptosporidium spp. and E. bieneusi by PCR and sequencing of the partial small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the rRNA gene of the two pathogens, respectively.


          The infection rate was 9.1% (22/242) for Cryptosporidium spp. and 7.9% (19/242) for E. bieneusi. Sequence analysis confirmed the presence of C. ubiquitum (1/22, 4.5%) and three genotypes of Cryptosporidium, including Cryptosporidium rat genotype I (14/22, 63.6%), Cryptosporidium rat genotype IV (6/22, 27.3%) and Cryptosporidium suis-like genotype (1/22, 4.5%). Meanwhile, two E. bieneusi genotypes were identified, including D (17/19, 89.5%) and Peru6 (2/19, 10.5%).


          To the best of our knowledge, Enterocytozoon bieneusi genotype Peru6 was identified in rodents for the first time globally and Cryptosporidium rat genotype I and Cryptosporidium rat genotype IV were found in rats in China for the first time. The finding of zoonotic C. ubiquitum and C. suis-like genotype, as well as E. bieneusi genotypes, suggests that brown rats pose a threat to human health. It is necessary to control brown rat population in the investigated areas and improve local people’s awareness of the transmission risk of the two pathogens from brown rats to humans.

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          Most cited references62

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          Cryptosporidium species in humans and animals: current understanding and research needs.

          Cryptosporidium is increasingly recognized as one of the major causes of moderate to severe diarrhoea in developing countries. With treatment options limited, control relies on knowledge of the biology and transmission of the members of the genus responsible for disease. Currently, 26 species are recognized as valid on the basis of morphological, biological and molecular data. Of the nearly 20 Cryptosporidium species and genotypes that have been reported in humans, Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum are responsible for the majority of infections. Livestock, particularly cattle, are one of the most important reservoirs of zoonotic infections. Domesticated and wild animals can each be infected with several Cryptosporidium species or genotypes that have only a narrow host range and therefore have no major public health significance. Recent advances in next-generation sequencing techniques will significantly improve our understanding of the taxonomy and transmission of Cryptosporidium species, and the investigation of outbreaks and monitoring of emerging and virulent subtypes. Important research gaps remain including a lack of subtyping tools for many Cryptosporidium species of public and veterinary health importance, and poor understanding of the genetic determinants of host specificity of Cryptosporidium species and impact of climate change on the transmission of Cryptosporidium.
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            Microsporidiosis: current status.

            Microsporidiosis is an emerging and opportunistic infection associated with a wide range of clinical syndromes in humans. This review highlights the research on microsporidiosis in humans during the previous 2 years. The reduced and compact microsporidian genome has generated much interest for better understanding the evolution of these parasites, and comparative molecular phylogenetic studies continue to support a relationship between the microsporidia and fungi. Through increased awareness and improved diagnostics, microsporidiosis has been identified in a broader range of human populations that, in addition to persons with HIV infection, includes travelers, children, organ transplant recipients, and the elderly. Effective commercial therapies for Enterocytozoon bieneusi, the most common microsporidian species identified in humans, are still lacking, making the need to develop tissue culture and small animal models increasingly urgent. Environmental transport modeling and disinfection strategies are being addressed for improving water safety. Questions still exist about whether microsporidia infections remain persistent in asymptomatic immune-competent individuals, reactivate during conditions of immune compromise, or may be transmitted to others at risk, such as during pregnancy or through organ donation. Reliable serological diagnostic methods are needed to supplement polymerase chain reaction or histochemistry when spore shedding may be sporadic.
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              Epidemiology of Enterocytozoon bieneusi Infection in Humans

              A review was conducted to examine published works that focus on the complex epidemiology of Enterocytozoon bieneusi infection in humans. Studies on the prevalence of these emerging microsporidian pathogens in humans, in developed and developing countries, the different clinical spectra of E. bieneusi intestinal infection in children, in different settings, and the risk factors associated with E. bieneusi infection have been reviewed. This paper also analyses the impact of the recent application of PCR-based molecular methods for species-specific identification and genotype differentiation has had in increasing the knowledge of the molecular epidemiology of E. bieneusi in humans. The advances in the epidemiology of E. bieneusi, in the last two decades, emphasize the importance of epidemiological control and prevention of E. bieneusi infections, from both the veterinary and human medical perspectives.

                Author and article information

                Parasit Vectors
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasites & Vectors
                BioMed Central (London )
                24 May 2018
                24 May 2018
                : 11
                : 313
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2204 9268, GRID grid.410736.7, Department of Parasitology, , Harbin Medical University China, ; Harbin, 150081 Heilongjiang China
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2204 9268, GRID grid.410736.7, Department of Microbiology, Wu Lien-Teh Institute, , Harbin Medical University, Heilongjiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Infection and Immunity, Key Laboratory of Pathogen Biology, ; Harbin, 150081 China
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2204 9268, GRID grid.410736.7, Department of Immunology, , Harbin Medical University, ; Harbin, 150081 China
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 8 February 2018
                : 8 May 2018
                Funded by: the Graduate Student Innovation Foundation of Harbin Medical University
                Award ID: YJSCX2016-41HYD
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: he Heilongjiang Province Education Bureau
                Award ID: No. 12531266
                Award Recipient :
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                © The Author(s) 2018

                cryptosporidium,enterocytozoon bieneusi,zoonotic,brown rats,genotyping
                cryptosporidium, enterocytozoon bieneusi, zoonotic, brown rats, genotyping


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