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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Apr;72(4):2507-13.

Emergence of distinct genotypes of Cryptosporidium parvum in structured host populations.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA.


Cryptosporidium parvum is an apicomplexan parasite that infects humans and ruminants. C. parvum isolated from cattle in northeastern Turkey and in Israel was genotyped using multiple polymorphic genetic markers, and the two populations were compared to assess the effect of cattle husbandry on the parasite's population structure. Dairy herds in Israel are permanently confined with essentially no opportunity for direct herd-to-herd transmission, whereas in Turkey there are more opportunities for transmission as animals range over wider areas and are frequently traded. A total of 76 C. parvum isolates from 16 locations in Israel and seven farms in the Kars region in northeastern Turkey were genotyped using 16 mini- and microsatellite markers. Significantly, in both countries distinct multilocus genotypes confined to individual farms were detected. The number of genotypes per farm was higher and mixed isolates were more frequent in Turkey than in Israel. As expected from the presence of distinct multilocus genotypes in individual herds, linkage disequilibrium among loci was detected in Israel. Together, these observations show that genetically distinct populations of C. parvum can emerge within a group of hosts in a relatively short time. This may explain the frequent detection of host-specific genotypes with unknown taxonomic status in surface water and the existence of geographically restricted C. hominis genotypes in humans.

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