Cryptosporidium species are common parasites of wild placental mammals. Recent parasitological studies combined with molecular genotyping techniques have been providing valuable new insight into the host specificity and potential transmission of various Cryptosporidium species/genotypes among animals and between these animals and humans. Although Cryptosporidium in wild animals may possess a potential public health problem due to oocyst contamination in the environment, studies at various regions of the world have indicated a strong host-adaptation by these parasites and a limited potential of cross-species transmission of cryptosporidiosis among placental mammals, suggesting that these animals are probably not a major reservoir for human infection. However, Cryptosporidium species/genotypes in placental animals have been reported occasionally in humans. Therefore, public health significance of some Cryptosporidium species in wild placental mammals, such as the cervine genotype, should not be overlooked and should be further studied.
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