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Parasitol Res. 2002 Oct;88(10):926-31. Epub 2002 Jun 28.

A single genotype of Encephalitozoon intestinalis infects free-ranging gorillas and people sharing their habitats in Uganda.

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The W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Microsporidian spores have been detected by Chromotrope 2R and calcofluor stains in fecal samples of three free-ranging human-habituated mountain gorillas in Uganda and in two people who share gorilla habitats. All spore isolates have been identified by PCR with species-specific primers and fluorescent in situ hybridization with a species-specific oligonucleotide probe to be Encephalitozoon intestinalis. Sequencing analyses of the full length SSUrRNA amplified from all spore isolates were identical with Enc. intestinalis SSUrRNA GenBank SIU09929. Sequences generated from a fragment containing the internal transcribed spacer of these isolates were identical to GenBank sequence Y11611, i.e., Enc. intestinalis of anthroponotic origin. A single pathogen genotype in two genetically distant but geographically united host groups indicates anthropozoonotic transmission of Enc. intestinalis. It is highly unlikely that these two identical Enc. intestinalis genotypes were acquired independently by gorillas and people; it is much more probable that one group initiated infection of the other.

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