Send to

Choose Destination
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003 Aug;69(8):4495-501.

Molecular characterization of microsporidia indicates that wild mammals Harbor host-adapted Enterocytozoon spp. as well as human-pathogenic Enterocytozoon bieneusi.

Author information

Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.


Over 13 months, 465 beavers, foxes, muskrats, otters, and raccoons were trapped in four counties in eastern Maryland and examined by molecular methods for microsporidia. A two-step nested PCR protocol was developed to amplify a 392-bp fragment of the internal transcribed spacer region of the rRNA gene of Enterocytozoon spp., with the use of primers complementary to the conserved regions of published nucleotide sequences. Fifty-nine PCR-positive samples were sequenced. Multiple alignments of these sequences identified 17 genotypes of Enterocytozoon spp. (WL1 to WL17); of these, 15 have not been reported before. Most of the genotypes were found in multiple species of wildlife and belonged to a major group consisting of all the previously described Enterocytozoon bieneusi genotypes from human and domestic animals. Some of the isolates from muskrats and raccoons formed two distinct groups. Results of this study indicate that fur-bearing mammals, especially those closely associated with surface water, can be a potential source of human-pathogenic E. bieneusi. However, there are also host-adapted Enterocytozoon genotypes in wildlife, which may represent species different from E. bieneusi and have no apparent public health significance. This is the first report of E. bieneusi in wildlife.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center