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, 126 (1-2), 145-66

Epidemiology of Microsporidiosis: Sources and Modes of Transmission


Epidemiology of Microsporidiosis: Sources and Modes of Transmission

E S Didier et al. Vet Parasitol.


Microsporidia are single-celled, obligate intracellular parasites that were recently reclassified from protozoa to fungi. Microsporidia are considered a cause of emerging and opportunistic infections in humans, and species infecting humans also infect a wide range of animals, raising the concern for zoonotic transmission. Persistent or self-limiting diarrhea are the most common symptoms associated with microsporidiosis in immune-deficient or immune-competent individuals, respectively. Microsporidian spores appear to be relatively resistant under environmental conditions, and species of microsporidia infecting humans and animals have been identified in water sources, raising concern about water-borne transmission. Sensitive and specific immunomagnetic bead separation and PCR-based methods are being developed and applied for detecting microsporidia in infected hosts and water sources for generating more reliable prevalence data. The most effective drugs for treating microsporidiosis in humans currently include albendazole, which is effective against the Encephalitozoon species but not against Enterocytozoon bieneusi, and fumagillin, which has broader anti-microsporidia activity but is toxic in mammals, suggesting a need to identify better drugs. Strategies to capture and disinfect microsporidia in water are being developed and include filtration, coagulation, chlorination, gamma-irradiation, and ozonation.

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