Molecular characterization of Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp. from dogs and coyotes in an urban landscape suggests infrequent occurrence of zoonotic genotypes
Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp. are common gastrointestinal parasites with the potential for zoonotic transmission. This study aimed to (1) determine the genotypes occurring in dogs and coyotes occupying a similar urban area; (2) determine if these hosts were infected with potentially zoonotic genotypes; (3) provide baseline molecular data. In August and September 2012, 860 dog owners living in neighborhoods bordering six urban parks in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, provided faecal samples from their dogs. From March 2012 through July 2013, 193 coyote faeces were also collected from five of six of the same parks. Direct immunofluorescence microscopy (DFA) indicated that Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp. infected a total of 64 (7.4%) and 21 (2.4%) dogs, as well as 15 (7.8%) and three (1.6%) coyotes, respectively. Semi-nested, polymerase chain reactions targeting the 16S small-subunit ribosomal ribonucleic acid (SSU rRNA) and 18S SSU rRNA genes of Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp., respectively, were conducted on samples that screened positive by DFA, and products were sequenced and genotyped. Dogs were infected with Giardia intestinalis canid-associated assemblages C (n = 14), D (n = 13), and Cryptosporidium canis (n = 3). Similarly, G. intestinalis assemblages C (n = 1), D (n = 1) and C. canis (n = 1), were detected in coyotes, as well as G. intestinalis assemblage A (n = 1) and Cryptosporidium vole genotype (n = 1). Dogs and coyotes were predominantly infected with host-specific genotypes and few potentially zoonotic genotypes, suggesting that they may not represent a significant risk for zoonotic transmission of these parasites in urban areas where these hosts are sympatric.
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