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Giardia and Cryptosporidium in harp and hooded seals from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada

Appelbee, A.J., Thompson, R.C.A., Measures, L.M. and Olson, M.E. (2010) Giardia and Cryptosporidium in harp and hooded seals from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. Veterinary Parasitology, 173 (1-2). p. 19.

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Giardia and Cryptosporidium are protozoan parasites known to cause enteric disease in terrestrial wildlife species (mammals, reptiles and birds). Few surveys for Giardia and Cryptosporidium in marine wildlife species, such as pinnipeds, have been reported. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and genotype of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in two species of pinnipeds, harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) and hooded seal (Cystophora cristata), from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. Faecal samples were collected from pup and adult seals and examined for the presence of cysts of Giardia and oocysts of Cryptosporidium using microscopy and immunofluorescent staining. Tissues from the small intestine of adult seals were also collected and examined for infections using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. Giardia cysts were found in the faeces of 42% (16/38) of adult harp seals, but in none of the harp seal pups (0/20). Although Giardia cysts were not detected in faeces of adult hooded seals (0/10) using microscopy, 80% tested positive for Giardia using PCR of intestinal tissue indicative of a true replicating infection. Both harp and hooded seals harboured infections with the zoonotic strain, Giardia duodenalis Assemblage A, as determined using a nested-PCR technique to amplify a small subunit ribosomal (SSU-rRNA) gene of Giardia. Cryptosporidium was not detected by microscopy, nor using the PCR technique on intestinal tissues from any of the 68 seals examined.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2010 Elsevier B.V
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