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Trends Parasitol. 2016 Apr;32(4):336-348. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2016 Jan 19.

Microsporidia - Emergent Pathogens in the Global Food Chain.

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Pathology and Molecular Systematics Team, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, UK.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Center (ARS), Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE), 1600 South West 23rd Drive, Gainesville, FL, 32608, USA.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Forchheimer 504, Bronx, NY 10641, USA.
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Botany Department, University of British Columbia, 3529-6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 Canada.
Division of Microbiology, Tulane National Primate Research Center and Department of Tropical Medicine, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, 1440 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.
Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Geoffrey Pope, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QD, UK.
Department of Biology, Saint Mary's University, 923 Robie Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Departments of Microbiology and Biomedical Sciences, 220 Nash Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Kitts, West Indies.
School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX, UK.
University of California, San Diego, 4202 Bonner Hall, 9500 Gilman Drive #0349, La Jolla, CA 92093-0349, USA.
International Livestock Research Institute, c/o Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Robert-von-Ostertag-Strasse 7-13, Berlin, 14163 Germany.
Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine, 1909 Skip Bertman Drive, Baton RougeLA 70803, USA.
Texas A&M University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Mailstop 4467, College Station, TX 77843-4467, USA.
Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1816 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820, USA. Electronic address:


Intensification of food production has the potential to drive increased disease prevalence in food plants and animals. Microsporidia are diversely distributed, opportunistic, and density-dependent parasites infecting hosts from almost all known animal taxa. They are frequent in highly managed aquatic and terrestrial hosts, many of which are vulnerable to epizootics, and all of which are crucial for the stability of the animal-human food chain. Mass rearing and changes in global climate may exacerbate disease and more efficient transmission of parasites in stressed or immune-deficient hosts. Further, human microsporidiosis appears to be adventitious and primarily associated with an increasing community of immune-deficient individuals. Taken together, strong evidence exists for an increasing prevalence of microsporidiosis in animals and humans, and for sharing of pathogens across hosts and biomes.


aquaculture; farming; immune-suppression; intensive rearing; phylogeny; zoonotic

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