Occurrence and genotype characterisation of Giardia lamblia in wolves (Canis lupus L. 1758) from Portugal

Abstract number: P881

Sousa M.C., Machado M., Loureiro A., Brás A., Godinho R., Rio-Maior H., Álvares F., Esteves P.J.

The protozoan parasite Giardia lamblia (synonym G. duodenalis, G. intestinalis) is recognised as one of the most important non-viral infectious agents causing diarrhoeal illness in humans around the world. Human giardiasis is considered a zoonotic infection, although the role of animals in the transmission to humans is still unclear.

G. lamblia is the most frequent form of Giardia found in mammals and represents a species complex comprising genotypes/assemblages that are host specific (assemblages C to G), and those that affect humans and a range of other mammalian species (assemblages A and B) and are thus considered to have zoonotic potential. Assemblages A and B show genetic sub-structuring and some subgroups appear to have more zoonotic potential than others. Genotyping data from wild animals are scarce, but some recent studies have revealed infection with assemblages A and B in wild carnivores and wild ruminants, suggesting a potential role of those animals as source of cysts infectious to other animals or to humans.

The aims of the present work are to detect and molecular characterize the isolates of Giardia obtained from wolves, in order to determine the existence of new or previously described species/genotypes and to establish their potential zoonotic character.

Wolves DNA was obtained from faecal samples (n = 38) collected in the National Park of Peneda-Gerês, North of Portugal. The b-giardin locus gene was amplified by nested-PCR and PCR products were sequenced with dRodamina Terminator Cycle Sequencing kit. The reading was performed using an ABI PRISM 310XL automatic DNA Sequencer and the obtained sequences were aligned with those available in Genbank using Clustal X program.

Results showed that a total of nineteen DNA faecal samples were positive to the b-giardin locus gene (50.0%). The sequencing analysis showed that the Giardia isolates belonged to the assemblage A1. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a close relationship between animal assemblage A and human isolates (Portland-1 and AY072723).

This is the first genetic characterization of Giardia in wild animals from Portugal. The results showed the high prevalence of Giardia in wolves and that the zoonotic Assemblage A was common in this wild animal. These findings suggest that wolves may play an important role in zoonotic transmission cycles of the parasite in north of Portugal.

This work was supported by FCT POCTI (FEDER) and by VentoMinho-Energias Renováveis, S.A.

Session Details

Date: 07/05/2011
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: Abstracts of 21st ECCMID / 27th ICC
Location: Milan, Italy, 7 - 10 May 2011
Presentation type:
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