a1 School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Ireland
a2 UK Cryptosporidium Reference Unit, Public Health Wales, Microbiology, Singleton Hospital, Swansea, UK
a3 Department of Environmental Science, School of Science, Institute of Technology, Sligo, Ireland
Within Europe, Ireland has one of the highest reported infection rates with the diarrhoeal protozoan pathogen Cryptosporidium. In this study 249 Cryptosporidium parvum isolates collected from Irish patients between 2000 and 2009 were subtyped by sequence analysis of the GP60 locus. A subsample of 127 isolates was also typed at the MS1 and ML1 loci. GP60 subtype IIaA18G3R1 was the predominant subtype in every year and every season throughout the country. Over the 10-year period there was no evidence that host immunity to the predominant subtype caused a shift in its prevalence. Length frequency distributions of the GP60 TCA/TCG repeats compiled from published data, showed distinct patterns for countries with predominantly zoonotic or anthroponotic transmission cycles, respectively. Although considered to be mostly affected by zoonotic cryptosporidiosis, the GP60 fragment length of Irish C. parvum isolates mirrored that of countries with predominantly human-to-human transmission, indicating more complex routes of infection between livestock and humans. Due to their homogeneity, ML1 and MS1 were not considered useful loci for subtyping C. parvum strains in Ireland.
(Accepted December 22 2010)
(Online publication February 01 2011)