Prevalence and genetic characterization of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in cats from Italy.
One hundred and eighty one cats living in central Italy were tested for the presence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium infection by IFAT test and specific PCRs. Overall eight (4.4%) samples were IFAT-positive for Giardia. All the IFAT-positive samples for Giardia scored positive for the PCRs, and three more samples IFAT-negative generated PCR products leading to a total 6.1% molecular positivity rate for Giardia. All the examined samples were negative for Cryptosporidium. Sequencing of samples molecularly positive to Giardia indicated that three cats harbored the zoonotic Giardia duodenalis Assemblage A, whereas all other positive animals were infected with the feline-specific G. duodenalis Assemblage F. Phylogenetic analysis carried out on the sequences obtained supported the clustering of the isolates within Assemblages A and F. The results here presented provide data on the occurrence of Giardia genotypes in cats living in close contact with humans highlighting the potential importance of this protozoan disease for the public health.
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