ABSTRACT

Cryptosporidium species and microsporidia, which can cause zoonotic intestinal infections in humans, have become an emerging public health concern. It seems that the identification and genotyping of these parasites are necessary for the prevention, control, and establishment of appropriate treatment. This study aimed to evaluate the distribution and zoonotic transmission routes of Cryptosporidium species and microsporidia to humans referred to medical laboratories of Kurdistan Province, Iran. A total of 1,383 stool samples were collected and investigated. Cryptosporidium spp. and microsporidia were detected using microscopic methods (i.e., formol-ether concentration, Ziehl-Neelsen staining, and modified trichrome staining methods). DNA was extracted from positive samples, and specific fragments of the Cryptosporidium GP60 gene and microsporidia SSU rRNA gene were amplified. Furthermore, positive samples were sequenced for genotype identification and bioinformatics analysis. Based on the microscopic analysis of 1,383 stool samples, 5 (0.36%) and 6 (0.43%) samples were considered positive for Cryptosporidium oocysts and microsporidia spores, respectively. Molecular analysis of positive samples identified the isolates as Cryptosporidium parvum and Enterocytozoon bieneusi. According to comparative phylogenetics, cryptosporidiosis and microsporidiosis may occur via zoonotic transmission in this region. Therefore, proper control and health education are strongly recommended to prevent zoonotic diseases.

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