ABSTRACT

This study is the first description of Blastocystis infection in peafowls in China. In total, 143 fecal specimens collected from a peafowl breeding farm in Henan Province were tested for Blastocystis infection by PCR assay targeting the small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) gene, and a total of 50 specimens (35.0%) were positive. Based on sequences and phylogenetic analysis, 2 genetically distinct subtypes (STs) were determined: ST9 and ST7. ST9 was the predominant subtype, accounting for 82% (41/50). The rare zoonotic subtype ST7 was also identified in peafowls, with the infection rate of 18% (9/50). Altogether, the present study is the first report of the prevalence and molecular characteristics of Blastocystis in peafowls in central China. The presence of zoonotic subtypes in peafowls suggests the potential risk of zoonotic transmission of Blastocystis to workers at peafowl farms.

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