Skip to main content
Skip Navigation

Fluorescent in situ hybridization as a tool to retrospectively identify Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia in samples from terrestrial mammalian wildlife

September 27, 2006
Parasitology Research

Malgorzata Bednarska, Anna Bajer, Edward Sinski, Autumn S. Girouard, Leena Tamang, Thaddeus K. Graczyk

Fecal samples of five terrestrial mammalian wildlife species stored at 4°C or at −20°C for up to 36 months have been tested for human zoonotic enteric parasites (i.e., Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia) using combined fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and direct fluorescent antibody techniques. The prevalence of C. parvum and G. lamblia varied from 20 to 63% (mean, 45.8%) and from 13 to 100% (mean, 53.2%), respectively. The prevalence of C. parvum and G. lamblia infections was higher in small rodents (mean, 68.5%) than in other wildlife (mean, 21%). Overall, 31.1% of animals were coinfected, and coinfections were more prevalent in small rodents (mean, 52%) than in other wildlife species (mean, 13.2%). The present study has shown that the FISH assay can be retrospectively applied to fecal samples for the identification of C. parvum oocysts, but is less suitable for the identification of G. lamblia cysts in such samples. Terrestrial mammalian wildlife, particularly small rodents, can contribute to watershed contamination with C. parvum oocysts and G. lamblia cysts. To control contamination, the management of pristine watersheds used for drinking water purposes should incorporate control measures for terrestrial wildlife, especially field rodents residing within such watersheds.