Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium species at the wildlife/livestock interface of the Kruger National Park, South Africa

Epidemiology Section, Department of Production Animal Studies, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa. Electronic address: .
Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases (Impact Factor: 2.02). 09/2012; 36(3). DOI: 10.1016/j.cimid.2012.07.004
Source: PubMed


Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. was done on isolates from African elephant (Loxodonta africana), African buffalo (Syncerus caffer), impala (Aepyceros melampus) and native domestic calves collected during May and June 2008 at the wildlife/livestock interface of the Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the 18S rRNA gene was used in feces from 51 calves (3-12 months of age), 71 buffalo, 71 impala and 72 elephant, and sequencing of the 18S rRNA gene was done on PCR-RFLP-positive wildlife samples. Cryptosporidium spp. were detected in 8% (4/51) of the calves and identified as C. andersoni (2/4) and C. bovis (2/4). Four of the 214 wildlife samples were positive for Cryptosporidium with a prevalence of 2.8% each in impala and buffalo. Cryptosporidium ubiquitum was detected in two impala and one buffalo, and C. bovis in one buffalo. A concurrent questionnaire conducted among 120 farmers in the study area investigated contacts between wildlife species and livestock. Buffalo and impala had the highest probability of contact with cattle outside the KNP. Despite the fairly low prevalence found in wildlife and cattle, the circulation of zoonotic Cryptosporidium spp., such as C. ubiquitum, should be investigated further, particularly in areas of high HIV infection prevalence. Further studies should target younger animals in which the prevalence is likely to be higher.

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