Evidence of host-associated populations of Cryptosporidium parvum in Italy

Rosanna Drumo, Giovanni Widmer, Liam J Morrison, Andy Tait, Vincenzo Grelloni, Nicoletta D'Avino, Edoardo Pozio, Simone M Cacciò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recent studies have revealed extensive genetic variation among isolates of Cryptosporidium parvum, an Apicomplexan parasite that causes gastroenteritis in both humans and animals worldwide. The parasite's population structure is influenced by the intensity of transmission, the host-parasite interaction, and husbandry practices. As a result, C. parvum populations can be panmictic, clonal, or even epidemic on both a local scale and a larger geographical scale. To extend the study of C. parvum populations to an unexplored region, 173 isolates of C. parvum collected in Italy from humans and livestock (calf, sheep, and goat) over a 10-year period were genotyped using a multilocus scheme based on 7 mini- and microsatellite loci. In agreement with other studies, extensive polymorphism was observed, with 102 distinct multilocus genotypes (MLGs) identified among 173 isolates. The presence of linkage disequilibrium, the confinement of MLGs to individual farms, and the relationship of many MLGs inferred using network analysis (eBURST) suggest a predominantly clonal population structure, but there is also evidence that part of the diversity can be explained by genetic exchange. MLGs from goats were found to differ from bovine and sheep MLGs, supporting the existence of C. parvum subpopulations. Finally, MLGs from isolates collected between 1997 and 1999 were also identified as a distinct subgroup in principal-component analysis and eBURST analysis, suggesting a continuous introduction of novel genotypes in the parasite population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3523-9
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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