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Brief Report

Zoonotic Microsporidia in Wild Lagomorphs in Southern Spain

1
Departamento de Biología Molecular y Bioquímica, Universidad de Málaga (UMA), 29010 Málaga, Spain
2
Grupo de Investigación en Sanidad Animal y Zoonosis (GISAZ), Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Universidad de Córdoba (UCO), 14014 Córdoba, Spain
3
Unidad de Enfermedades Infecciosas, Grupo de Virología Clínica y Zoonosis, Instituto Maimónides de Investigación Biomédica de Córdoba (IMIBIC), Universidad de Córdoba (UCO), 14004 Córdoba, Spain
4
Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad San Pablo-CEU, CEU Universities, Urbanización Montepríncipe, Boadilla del Monte, 28660 Madrid, Spain
5
Programa de Vigilancia Epidemiológica de la Fauna Silvestre en Andalucía (PVE), Consejería de Agricultura, Ganadería, Pesca y Desarrollo Sostenible, Junta de Andalucía, 29006 Málaga, Spain
6
Grupo Sanidad y Biotecnología (SaBio), Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC-CSIC-JCCM), Universidad de Castilla-la Mancha (UCLM), 13005 Ciudad Real, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Equally contributed as first author.
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2218; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122218
Received: 9 November 2020 / Revised: 20 November 2020 / Accepted: 23 November 2020 / Published: 26 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites and Wildlife)
A cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the presence of zoonotic microsporidia in organ meats of European wild rabbits and Iberian hares consumed by humans in Spain. Between July 2015 and December 2018, kidney samples from 383 wild rabbits and kidney and brain tissues from 79 Iberian hares in southern Spain were tested by species-specific polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) for the detection of microsporidia DNA. We confirmed the presence of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in three wild rabbits and Encephalitozoon intestinalis in one wild rabbit and three Iberian hares. However, none of the 462 sampled wild lagomorphs showed Encephalitozoon hellem nor Encephalitozoon cuniculi infection. This is the first report of E. intestinalis infection in wild rabbits and Iberian hares. The presence of E. bieneusi and E. intestinalis in organ meats from wild lagomorphs can be of public health concern. Additional studies are required to determine the real prevalence of these parasites in European wild rabbit and Iberian hare.
Microsporidia are obligate intracellular protist-like fungal pathogens that infect a broad range of animal species, including humans. This study aimed to assess the presence of zoonotic microsporidia (Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Encephalitozoon intestinalis, Encephalitozoon hellem, and Encephalitozoon cuniculi) in organ meats of European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Iberian hare (Lepus granatensis) consumed by humans in Spain. Between July 2015 and December 2018, kidney samples from 383 wild rabbits and kidney and brain tissues from 79 Iberian hares in southern Spain were tested by species-specific PCR for the detection of microsporidia DNA. Enterocytozoon bieneusi infection was confirmed in three wild rabbits (0.8%; 95% CI: 0.0–1.7%) but not in hares (0.0%; 95% CI: 0.0–4.6%), whereas E. intestinalis DNA was found in one wild rabbit (0.3%; 95% CI: 0.0–0.8%) and three Iberian hares (3.8%; 95% CI: 0.0–8.0%). Neither E. hellem nor E. cuniculi infection were detected in the 462 (0.0%; 95% CI: 0.0–0.8%) lagomorphs analyzed. The absence of E. hellem and E. cuniculi infection suggests a low risk of zoonotic foodborne transmission from these wild lagomorph species in southern Spain. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report of E. intestinalis infection in wild rabbits and Iberian hares. The presence of E. bieneusi and E. intestinalis in organ meats from wild lagomorphs can be of public health concern. Additional studies are required to determine the real prevalence of these parasites in European wild rabbit and Iberian hare. View Full-Text
Keywords: Encephalitozoon intestinalis; E. hellem; E. cuniculi; Enterocytozoon bieneusi; European wild rabbit; Iberian hare; zoonotic; foodborne Encephalitozoon intestinalis; E. hellem; E. cuniculi; Enterocytozoon bieneusi; European wild rabbit; Iberian hare; zoonotic; foodborne
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martínez-Padilla, A.; Caballero-Gómez, J.; Magnet, Á.; Gómez-Guillamón, F.; Izquierdo, F.; Camacho-Sillero, L.; Jiménez-Ruiz, S.; del Águila, C.; García-Bocanegra, I. Zoonotic Microsporidia in Wild Lagomorphs in Southern Spain. Animals 2020, 10, 2218. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122218

AMA Style

Martínez-Padilla A, Caballero-Gómez J, Magnet Á, Gómez-Guillamón F, Izquierdo F, Camacho-Sillero L, Jiménez-Ruiz S, del Águila C, García-Bocanegra I. Zoonotic Microsporidia in Wild Lagomorphs in Southern Spain. Animals. 2020; 10(12):2218. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122218

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martínez-Padilla, Anabel, Javier Caballero-Gómez, Ángela Magnet, Félix Gómez-Guillamón, Fernando Izquierdo, Leonor Camacho-Sillero, Saúl Jiménez-Ruiz, Carmen del Águila, and Ignacio García-Bocanegra. 2020. "Zoonotic Microsporidia in Wild Lagomorphs in Southern Spain" Animals 10, no. 12: 2218. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122218

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