Submitted to: Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/24/2014
Publication Date: 7/26/2014
Citation: Santin, M., Fayer, R. 2014. Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Giardia and Cryptosporidium infecting white-tailed deer. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology. 62:34-43.
Interpretive Summary: Despite a white-tailed deer population in the United States of approximately 32 million animals, very little is known of the prevalence and species of protozoan parasites that infect these animals, and that might also be a source of environmental contamination leading to infection of other animals and humans. Based on analyses of feces collected from fawns, yearlings and adult deer in Maryland, the presence of three parasites of medical and veterinary concern, Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia, was detected by molecular methods. Genotypes of E. bieneusi and Cryptosporidium were found that appear host specific for deer; other known zoonotic genotypes of E. bieneusi and Giardia were also detected in this survey. In addition to the tick borne human pathogens carried by deer such as Lyme disease, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis, the detection of these protozoan pathogens represents significant new information of public health concern in light of the huge white-tailed deer population in the United States. This information should be useful to other scientists, veterinarians and public health agencies.
Technical Abstract: Despite a white-tailed deer (WTD) population in the United States of approximately 32 million animals extremely little is known of the prevalence and species of the protists that infect these animals. The present study was undertaken to determine the presence of potential human protist pathogens in culled WTD in central Maryland. Feces from fawns to adults were examined by molecular methods. The prevalence of Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia was determined by PCR. All PCR-positive specimens were sequenced to determine the species and genotype(s). Of specimens from 80 WTD, 26 (32.5%) contained 17 genotypes of E. bieneusi. Four genotypes were previously reported (I, J, WL4, LW1) and 13 novel genotypes were identified and named DeerEb1-DeerEb13. Genotypes I, J, and LW1 are known to infect humans. Ten (12.5%) specimens contained the Cryptosporidium deer genotype, and one (1.25%) contained G. duodenalis Assemblage A. The identification of zoonotic G. duodenalis Assemblage A as well as three E. bieneusi genotypes previously identified in humans suggest that WTD could play a role in the transmission of those parasites to humans.