Cryptosporidium spp. in caged exotic psittacines from Brazil: Evaluation of diagnostic methods and molecular characterization
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of and diagnostic methods for Cryptosporidium spp. in caged adult exotic parrots from Southern and Southeastern Brazil. Oocysts were purified from fecal samples from 463 psittacines by centrifugal-flotation in Sheather's sugar solution. Cryptosporidium spp. were detected by malachite green negative staining and nested PCR targeting the 18S rRNA gene. Cryptosporidium species were identified by sequencing nested PCR amplicons. Samples were also tested by duplex real-time PCR targeting the 18S rRNA gene of Cryptosporidium galli and Cryptosporidium avian genotype III. The prevalence rates of Cryptosporidium spp. determined by microscopy and nested PCR were 3.0% (14/463) and 5.0% (23/463), respectively. The nested PCR/sequencing identified avian genotype III (1.7%; 8/463), Cryptosporidium parvum (0.9%; 4/463) and Cryptosporidium canis (0.2%; 1/463). Duplex real-time PCR was positive for gastric Cryptosporidium in 9.5% (44/463) of the samples. Among them, 1.9% (9/463) were positive for C. galli, 5.8% (27/463) were positive for avian genotype III and 1.7% (8/463) showed mixed infections with C. galli and avian genotype III. With regards to the positive detection of Cryptosporidium spp., there was no statistically significant difference between nested PCR and microscopic analysis (p =.1237), and a fair agreement existed between them (Kappa = 0.242). A statistically significant difference (p <.0001) and fair agreement (Kappa = 0.317) were obtained between nested PCR/sequencing and duplex real-time PCR for the detection of gastric Cryptosporidium. We determined that nested PCR and duplex real-time PCR are the best options for the detection of Cryptosporidium spp. and gastric Cryptosporidium, respectively, and that avian genotype III is the most common Cryptosporidium genotype/species in psittacines.
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