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Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis in pet cats in Henan Province, central China.

Acta Tropica 2024 March 25
Cryptosporidium spp. and G. duodenalis often infect humans, cats, and other mammals, causing diarrhea and being responsible for numerous outbreaks of waterborne and foodborne infections worldwide. The rapid increase in the number of pet cats poses a substantial public health risk. However, there were few reports about the infection of Cryptosporidium spp. and G. duodenalis infections in pet cats in Henan Province, central China. Thus, to understand the prevalence and genetic distribution of Cryptosporidium spp. and G. duodenalis in pet cats, and to evaluate the zoonotic potential, possible transmission routes and public health implications of isolates, fecal samples (n=898) were randomly collected from pet cats in 11 cities in Henan Province, central China. Nested PCR based on the SSU rRNA gene and bg gene was used to the prevalence of Cryptosporidium spp. and G. duodenalis, respectively. The prevalence was 0.8% (7/898) and 2.0% (18/898) for Cryptosporidium spp. and G. duodenalis respectively. Additionally, the Cryptosporidium spp. positive isolates were identified as C. parvum subtype IIdA19G1 by gp60 gene. In the present study, the IIdA19G1 subtype was discovered in pet cats for the first time in China, enriching the information on the host type and geographical distribution of Cryptosporidium spp. in China. For G. duodenalis, a total of 18 G. duodenalis positive samples were identified, belonging to four assemblages: a zoonotic assemblage A1 (4/898), three host-specific assemblages C (8/898), D (5/898), and F (1/898). Interestingly, we found that pet cats infected with Cryptosporidium spp. and G. duodenalis are more likely to experience emaciation symptoms compared to the negative group. More importantly, the prevalence of Cryptosporidium spp. and G. duodenalis detected in the present study were low, but the subtype IIdA19G1 of Cryptosporidium spp. and the assemblages A1, C, D, and F of G. duodenalis have the potential for zoonotic transmission. Thus, we should focus on preventing and controlling the risk of cross-species transmission that may occur in pet cats in Henan Province.

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