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Vet Parasitol. 2010 Dec 15;174(3-4):206-12. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2010.08.034. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Molecular epidemiology of Giardia duodenalis in an endangered carnivore--the African painted dog.

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WHO Collaborating Centre for the Molecular Epidemiology of Parasitic Infections and State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre, School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, South Street, Western Australia 6150, Australia.


The African painted dog (Lycaon pictus) is an endangered carnivore of sub-Saharan Africa. To assist in conservation efforts a parasitological survey was conducted on wild and captive populations. Faecal samples were collected and examined for the presence of parasites using traditional microscopy techniques. The protozoan Giardia duodenalis was identified at a prevalence of approximately 26% in the wild populations and 62% in the captive population. Molecular characterisation of these isolates using three loci, 18S rRNA, β-giardin and the glutamate dehydrogenase gene revealed the zoonotic assemblages A and B existed in high proportions in both populations. The dog assemblages C and D were rarely observed. The identification of the zoonotic genotype suggests this species has the potential to act as a reservoir for human infections. Zoonotic transmission may be possible in captive populations due to the close interaction with humans however, in wild populations anthropozoonotic transmission seems more likely. This study is the first to observe G. duodenalis in the African painted dog and to identify a possible emerging disease in this wild carnivore.

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