[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia are ubiquitous parasites infecting all animal phyla and we present evidence that supports their zoonotic potential. Fecal samples taken from domestic (cats and dogs), farm (pigs, rabbits and ostriches) and wild animals (foxes) from different provinces of Spain were evaluated for microsporidia infection by light microscopy and PCR. After Microsporidia species identification, E. bieneusi genotypes were additionally studied by sequence analysis of the ITS region. Eighty-five samples out of 159 exhibited structures that were compatible with microsporidia spores by Webeŕs stain with 37 of them being confirmed by PCR. Microsporidia species identified included E. bieneusi, E. intestinalis and A. algerae. We report the first diagnosis of E. intestinalis and E. bieneusi in ostriches and A. algerae in pigs. We also provide new information on the molecular characterization of E. bieneusi isolates both in rabbits and ostriches. All of the E. bieneusi genotypes identified belonged to the zoonotic group of genotypes (Group I) including genotypes A (dogs), I (pigs), D (rabbits and foxes) and type IV (ostriches). Our results demonstrate that microsporidia are present in domestic, farm and wild animals in Spain, corroborating their potential role as a source of human infection and environmental contamination.
PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e92289. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Free-living amoeba such as Acanthamoeba and Balamuthia mandrillaris can act as opportunistic parasites on a wide range of vertebrates and they are becoming a serious threat to human health due to the resistance of their cysts to harsh environmental conditions, disinfectants, some water treatment practices and their ubiquitous distribution. This work was carried out in order to study the presence of these free-living amoebae (FLA) and their possible seasonality in a continental-Mediterranean climate in different types of water. For this purpose, a total of 223 water samples were collected during one year from four drinking water treatment plants (DWTP), seven wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and six locations of influence (LI) on four river basins from Spain. Water samples were concentrated using the IDEXX Filta-Max(®) system and analyzed by a triplex real time PCR that detects Acanthamoeba, B. mandrillaris and Naegleria fowleri. Agar plates were also seeded for Acanthamoeba culture. From the three FLA studied, N. fowleri was not detected in any sample while B. mandrillaris was found at the entrance of a DWTP; this being, to our knowledge, the first report of these protozoa in water worldwide. On the other hand, the presence of Acanthamoeba observed was higher, 94.6% of the studied points were positive by real time PCR and 85.2% by culture, resulting in 99.1% positive for Acanthamoeba with both methods. All genetically analyzed Acanthamoeba were genotype T4 but nine different T4/DF3 sequences were observed, three of them being described for the first time, assigning new codes. No seasonal distribution of Acanthamoeba was found. These facts should serve as a warning to contact lens wearers of the risk of a poor hygiene when handling their contact lenses. It should also serve as a signal to physicians to consider FLA as a possible causative agent of nervous system infections as well as Acanthamoeba keratitis due to their high environmental presence shown in this study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A year-long longitudinal study was undertaken to evaluate the presence of Cryptosporidium spp. in drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs), wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and freshwater bathing beaches (FBBs) from the central area of Spain. Water samples were collected according to USEPA Method 1623, and concentrated by the IDEXX Filta-Max® system. Cryptosporidium species were detected based on PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequence analyses of the ssuRNA gene. C. hominis and/or C. parvum isolates were subtyped by DNA sequencing of the Gp60 gene. Among 150 samples, 23 (15.3%) were positive by IFAT and 40 (26.7%) by PCR. Cryptosporidium spp. was more frequent in WWTPs (26.2 and 50.8%) and FBBs (12.5 and 17.5%) by IFAT and PCR respectively. Effluent waters from DWTPs were negative for this parasite suggesting that they are suitable for public use. Tertiary treatment in the WWTPs demonstrated a high removal efficiency of Cryptosporidium in the samples evaluated. Cryptosporidium species identified included C. hominis, C. parvum, C. ubiquitum, C. andersoni and C. muris. Subtyping analysis revealed C. hominis IbA10G2 and IeA11G3T3 alleles, which is the first report of the latter in water samples. Cryptosporidium highest frequency was observed in winter and spring. Our data provide information about the occurrence and diversity of Cryptosporidium in water of human use from the central area of Spain.
Science of The Total Environment 09/2013; 468-469C:368-375. · 3.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia are ubiquitous fungi with genomes that have undergone a strong reduction to the extreme cases of E. cuniculi and E. intestinalis. Genetic variability within species of the Encephalitozoon genus has been reported, with most of the studies based on the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of the rDNA. However, in contrast to the picture of E. cuniculi and E. hellem, where different strains have been identified, no genetic variability has yet been observed in E. intestinalis. We have analysed tandem repeats included in putative coding sequences which could be used as polymorphic markers in E. intestinalis. Eight candidate loci (M2, M2A, M3, M5, M7, M7A, M8 and PTP1) were established and 9 E. intestinalis cultured strains from North America, South America and Europe were analysed. M2, M7 and PTP1 nucleotide sequences were identical among the different strains and the GenBank sequence. In contrast, we observed variants in 4 markers (M2A, M3, M7A and M8) which did not correspond to their respective reference sequences. The most noticeable finding was that with the M5 marker two genotypes were defined among the different strains studied, demonstrating genotypic variability of E. intestinalis. Although the diversity described is certainly not high, which can be explained by a lower chance of genetic variability in its minimal genome, we have demonstrated that polymorphisms actually exist in E. intestinalis. Epidemiological studies using this genetic marker should now be conducted to elucidate the genetic variability in E. intestinalis and improve our knowledge of the epidemiology of this microsporidia.
Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 08/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies suggest the involvement of water in the epidemiology of C. cayetanensis and some microsporidia. A total of 223 samples from 4 drinking water treatment plants (DWTP), 7 wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), and 6 locations of influence (LI) on 4 river basins from Madrid (Spain) were analyzed from spring 2008 to winter 2009. Microsporidia were detected in 49% of samples (109/223); Cyclospora spp. in 9% (20/223) and both parasites in 5.4% (12/223). Human pathogenic microsporidia were detected including E. bieneusi (C, D and D-like genotype), E. intestinalis, E. cuniculi (genotype I and III) and A. algerae. C. cayetanensis was identified in 17 of 20 samples. To our knowledge, this is the first study that shows a year-long longitudinal study of C. cayetanensis in drinking water treatment plants. Additionally, data about the presence and molecular characterization of the human pathogenic microsporidia in drinking water, wastewater and locations of influence during one year in Spain are shown. It is outstanding that although the DWTPs and WWTPs studied, meet European and national regulations on water sanitary quality, both parasites were found in water samples from these plants, supporting the idea that new and appropriate controls and regulations for drinking, wastewater and recreational waters should be proposed to avoid health risks from these pathogens.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 11/2012; · 3.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Microsporidiosis is a life threatening opportunistic infection of AIDS patients. The infection is usually restricted to specific anatomical areas, but could become systemic depending on the involved species. Genital microsporidiosis in female patients is rare. OBJECTIVE: To report genital microsporidiosis in female AIDS patients. METHODS: Tissues samples from the genital tract (ovary, fallopian tubes and uterus) of eight deceased women who died of wasting syndrome associated to AIDS and disseminated microsporidiosis at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí were collected between 1997 and 2005. Using an indirect immunohistochemistry assay the microsporidia species involved in those cases were identified. RESULTS: We report several cases of microsporidial infection of the female genital tract. Six out of eight women with the disseminated form of the disease showed the presence of microsporidia in the genital tract. Encephalitozoon cuniculi and Encephalitozoon hellem were identified in the internal lining epithelium of the fallopian tubes and endometrium. CONCLUSIONS: Microsporidia species could disseminate to other organs and become systemic in severe immunocompromised cases. To our knowledge this is the greatest number of female genital tract microsporidiosis cases so far reported in humans.
Revista Iberoamericana de Micología 04/2012; 30(1):47-50. · 0.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia are obligate intracellular parasites that infect a broad range of vertebrates and invertebrates. They have been increasingly recognized as human pathogens in AIDS patients, mainly associated with a life-threatening chronic diarrhea and systemic disease. However, to date the global epidemiology of human microsporidiosis is poorly understood, and recent data suggest that the incidence of these pathogens is much higher than previously reported and may represent a neglected etiological agent of more common diseases indeed in immunocompetent individuals. To contribute to the knowledge of microsporidia molecular epidemiology in HIV-positive patients in Nigeria, the authors tested stool samples proceeding from patients with and without diarrhea.
Stool samples from 193 HIV-positive patients with and without diarrhea (67 and 126 respectively) from Lagos (Nigeria) were investigated for the presence of microsporidia and Cryptosporidium using Weber's Chromotrope-based stain, Kinyoun stain, IFAT and PCR. The Weber stain showed 45 fecal samples (23.3%) with characteristic microsporidia spores, and a significant association of microsporidia with diarrhea was observed (O.R. = 18.2; CI: 95%). A similar result was obtained using Kinyoun stain, showing 44 (31,8%) positive samples with structures morphologically compatible with Cryptosporidium sp, 14 (31.8%) of them with infection mixed with microsporidia. The characterization of microsporidia species by IFAT and PCR allowed identification of Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Encephalitozoon intestinalis and E. cuniculi in 5, 2 and 1 samples respectively. The partial sequencing of the ITS region of the rRNA genes showed that the three isolates of E.bieneusi studied are included in Group I, one of which bears the genotype B.
To our knowledge, this is the first report of microsporidia characterization in fecal samples from HIV-positive patients from Lagos, Nigeria. These results focus attention on the need to include microsporidial diagnosis in the management of HIV/AIDS infection in Nigeria, at the very least when other more common pathogens have not been detected.
PLoS ONE 04/2012; 7(4):e35239. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A total of 116 samples (44 clinical specimens and 72 environmental samples) have been analyzed for the presence of Acanthamoeba. The environmental samples (ESs) were collected from four drinking water treatment plants (DWTP, n=32), seven wastewater treatment plants (n=28), and six locations of influence (n=12) on four river basins from the central area of Spain (winter-spring 2008). Water samples were concentrated by using the IDEXX Filta-Max(®) system. Acanthamoeba was identified in 65 of the 72 ESs by culture isolation (90.3%) and 63 by real-time PCR (87.5%), resulting in all sampling points (100%) positive for Acanthamoeba when considering both techniques and all the time period analyzed. Nine of the 44 clinical specimens were positive for Acanthamoeba. Seventeen Acanthamoeba strains (eight from four DWTP and nine from clinical samples) were also established in axenic-PYG medium. Twenty-four of the ESs and the 17 Acanthamoeba sp. strains were genotyped as T4/1, T4/8, and T4/9. The eight strains isolated from the DWTP samples were inoculated in nude mouse to ascertain their potential pathogenicity in this model. Animals that were inoculated died or showed central nervous system symptoms 9 days post-inoculation. Examination of immunofluorescence-stained brain and lung tissue sections showed multiple organisms invading both tissues, and re-isolation of throphozoites was successful in these tissues of all infected animals. For the first time, potentially pathogenic Acanthamoeba T4 has been detected in 100% of different types of water samples including tap water and sewage effluents in the central area of Spain suggesting a potential health threat for humans especially for the contact lens wearers.
Parasitology Research 03/2012; 111(1):383-92. · 2.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diarrhea is the main health problem caused by human-related microsporidia, and waterborne transmission is one of the main risk factors for intestinal diseases. Recent studies suggest the involvement of water in the epidemiology of human microsporidiosis. However, studies related to the presence of microsporidia in different types of waters from countries where human microsporidiosis has been described are still scarce. Thirty-eight water samples from 8 drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs), 8 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and 6 recreational river areas (RRAs) from Galicia (NW Spain) have been analyzed. One hundred liters of water from DWTPs and 50 L of water from WWTPs and RRAs were filtered to recover parasites, using the IDEXX Filta-Max® system. Microsporidian spores were identified by Weber's stain and positive samples were analyzed by PCR, using specific primers for Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Encephalitozoon intestinalis, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, and Encephalitozoon hellem. Microsporidia spores were identified by staining protocols in eight samples (21.0%): 2 from DWTPs, 5 from WWTPs, and 1 from an RRA. In the RRA sample, the microsporidia were identified as E. intestinalis. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of human-pathogenic microsporidia in water samples from DWTPs, WWTPs and RRAs in Spain. These observations add further evidence to support that new and appropriate control and regulations for drinking, wastewater, and recreational waters should be established to avoid health risks from this pathogen.
Water Research 07/2011; 45(16):4837-43. · 5.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several studies have demonstrated that the soil of public parks presents an important source of infection which has a significant impact on public health. Children are the main group affected by accidentally ingestion of contaminated soil. This study was performed in order to identify the presence of zoonotic parasites in dog and cat faecal and soil samples from public parks of Madrid, Spain. Six hundred twenty-five and seventy-nine soil and faecal samples (presumably from dogs and cats) respectively were collected from 67 parks. Intestinal parasites were identified in 27 parks (40.3%), which were contamined with Giardia sp. (19.4%), microsporidia (19.4%), Toxocara spp. (16.4%), Cryptosporidium sp. (6%), Entamoeba histolytica (3%) and Ancylostomidae (3%). Combinations of two or more intestinal parasites were found in 11 parks, and it was common to find Giardia and microsporidia together in samples. Intestinal parasites were detected in 18% (112/625) of soil samples. The most frequent parasite species found in the examined soil samples were Toxocara spp. (16.4%), followed by Giardia sp. (4.5%) and Strongyloides sp. larvae (3%). The zoonotic parasites found in the 79 faecal samples were Giardia sp. (17.7%), Cryptosporidium sp. (9%), E. histolytica (2.5%), Trichuris vulpis (1.3%), Toxascaris leonina (1.3%) and microsporidia spores (28%). Microsporidia characterization by amplification of DNA confirmed 10 samples as positive, eight for E. bieneusi and two for E. hellem by PCR. The role of those parasites in the environment are discussed.
Zoonoses and Public Health 05/2011; 59(1):23-8. · 2.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia are currently considered emerging pathogens responsible for life-threatening infections in organ transplant recipients. Here, we describe the first cases of intestinal microsporidiosis by Enterocytozoon bieneusi genotype D in two non-HIV-infected renal transplant recipients from Spain. Previously reported cases of microsporidiosis in organ transplant recipients have also been reviewed, highlighting the necessity of considering organ transplant recipients a risk group for microsporidiosis. A systematic search for these parasites is recommended in cases of persistent diarrhea and in the differential diagnosis of other syndromes, such as chronic fever of unknown etiology.
Journal of clinical microbiology 02/2011; 49(4):1301-6. · 4.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enterocytozoon bieneusi is a microsporidian parasite that infects many vertebrate animals, including humans. The rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) shows a hypervariable sequence; however, so far no clear information has been inferred about strain evolution in this species. We reviewed all the sequences described and performed a phylogenetic study. Four groups of sequences strongly differentiated from each other were detected, although most of the isolates (94%) corresponded to group I. The highly diverse sequences of this group were analyzed using median-joining networks. The host species (humans, pets, swine, cattle, birds, and wild animals) and the continents of origin of the isolates were considered. Central haplotypes in the network were obtained from very diverse hosts and geographical origins. The results show that although E. bieneusi has a broad host specificity, transmission is not completely free: some strains were able to circulate within a given host species and were only occasionally transmitted to another host. Additionally, while not relevant for swine or cattle hosts, geography seems to be a relevant factor for human infection by E. bieneusi.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 03/2010; 76(10):3333-42. · 3.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia are intracellular obligate parasites which have recently been found to be related to fungi. They have a unique extrusion apparatus that is able to inject the sporoplasm directly into the target cell without using receptors. Encephalitozoon microsporidia are a source of morbidity and mortality in humans. It has been suggested that microsporidia may modulate the host cell cycle and apoptosis. We report here that caspase-3 cleavage is inhibited at different times of Vero cell infection by Encephalitozoon microsporidia and that the phosphorylation and translocation of p53 to the nucleus, previous steps for the activation of this protein, do not occur after infection of Vero cells. Consequently, the transcriptional function of p53 is impaired during the infection cycle as demonstrated by luciferase reporter assays. Thus, to our knowledge, for the first time it is shown that an intracellular parasite may be able to multiply in the host cell without activating the p53 apoptotic pathway of that cell. However, changes in the expression of Bcl-2 or Bax levels were not observed.
International Journal for Parasitology 08/2006; 36(8):869-76. · 3.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia are newly emerging pathogens of humans and animals, with Enterocytozoon bieneusi being the most common causal agent in human microsporidiosis. To determine the presence of E. bieneusi, 273 clinical samples (40 urine, 156 stools, 37 sputum, 9 bronchial aspirates, 5 bronchial washes and 26 pleural fluids) from immunocompetent patients, mainly suffering diarrhoea or pneumonia, in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain were analysed using light microscopy after staining with Weber's chromotrope and by PCR/hybridisation with a specific probe designed to increase the sensitivity of the identification. In this study, detection of E. bieneusi after PCR/hybridisation is reported in 18 (11.54%) of 156 stool samples, 1 (2.5%) of 40 urine samples and 6 (16.22%) of 37 sputum samples. To our knowledge, these are the first reports of E. bieneusi in this subtropical region, showing the increased importance of these parasites as emerging pathogens worldwide.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 12/2005; 99(11):848-55. · 1.93 Impact Factor