Patterns of Cryptosporidium Oocyst Shedding by Eastern Grey Kangaroos inhabiting an Australian Watershed

Michelle L. Power, Nicholas C. Sangster, Martin B. Slade, Duncan A. Veal

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    37 Citations (Scopus)


    The occurrence of Cryptosporidium oocysts in feces from a population of wild eastern grey kangaroos inhabiting a protected watershed in Sydney, Australia, was investigated. Over a 2-year period, Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in 239 of the 3,557 (6.7%) eastern grey kangaroo fecal samples tested by using a combined immunomagnetic separation and flow cytometric technique. The prevalence of Cryptosporidium in this host population was estimated to range from 0.32% to 28.5%, with peaks occurring during the autumn months. Oocyst shedding intensity ranged from below 20 oocysts/g feces to 2.0 × 10 6 oocysts/g feces, and shedding did not appear to be associated with diarrhea. Although morphologically similar to the human-infective Cryptosporidium hominis and the Cryptosporidium parvum "bovine" genotype oocysts, the oocysts isolated from kangaroo feces were identified as the Cryptosporidium "marsupial" genotype I or "marsupial" genotype II. Kangaroos are the predominant large mammal inhabiting Australian watersheds and are potentially a significant source of Cryptosporidium contamination of drinking water reservoirs. However, this host population was predominantly shedding the marsupial-derived genotypes, which to date have been identified only in marsupial host species.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6159-6164
    Number of pages6
    JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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