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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 Aug;5(8):e1262. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001262. Epub 2011 Aug 2.

Multilocus genotyping of human Giardia isolates suggests limited zoonotic transmission and association between assemblage B and flatulence in children.

Author information

1
Department of Diagnostics and Vaccinology, Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control, Solna, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Giardia intestinalis is one of the most common diarrhea-related parasites in humans, where infection ranges from asymptomatic to acute or chronic disease. G. intestinalis consists of eight genetically distinct genotypes or assemblages, designated A-H, and assemblages A and B can infect humans. Giardiasis has been classified as a possible zoonotic disease but the role of animals in human disease transmission still needs to be proven. We tried to link different assemblages and sub-assemblages of G. intestinalis isolates from Swedish human patients to clinical symptoms and zoonotic transmission.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Multilocus sequence-based genotyping of 207 human Giardia isolates using three gene loci: ß-giardin, glutamate dehydrogenase (gdh), and triose phosphate isomerase (tpi) was combined with assemblage-specific tpi PCRs. This analysis identified 73 patients infected with assemblage A, 128 with assemblage B, and six with mixed assemblages A+B. Multilocus genotypes (MLGs) were easily determined for the assemblage A isolates, and most patients with this genotype had apparently been infected through anthroponotic transmission. However, we also found evidence of limited zoonotic transmission of Giardia in Sweden, since a few domestic human infections involved the same assemblage A MLGs previously reported in Swedish cats and ruminants. Assemblage B was detected more frequently than assemblage A and it was also more common in patients with suspected treatment failure. However, a large genetic variability made determination of assemblage B MLGs problematic. Correlation between symptoms and assemblages was found only for flatulence, which was significantly more common in children less than six years of age infected with assemblage B.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

This study shows that certain assemblage A subtypes are potentially zoonotic and that flatulence is connected to assemblage B infections in young children. Determination of MLGs from assemblages A and B can be a valuable tool in outbreak situations and to help identify possible zoonotic transmission.

PMID:
21829745
PMCID:
PMC3149019
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pntd.0001262
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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