Giardia duodenalis is a widespread parasite of mammalian species, including humans. Fecal samples from sporadic human clinical cases of giardiasis in Western Australia were analysed at two loci; 18S rRNA and glutamate dehydrogenase (gdh), and G. duodenalis assemblage B isolates were identified in 75% of isolates. Sequence analyses of 124 isolates at the 18S rRNA locus identified 93 isolates as assemblage B and 31 as assemblage A. Analyses of 109 isolates at the gdh locus identified 44 as B3, 38 as B4 and 27 were A2. Infection with Giardia was highest amongst children <5 years of age, with >56% of infections in this age group. The majority of the isolates were from rural areas (91/124) compared with urban areas (33/124). The assemblage A isolates were completely homogenous genetically at the gdh locus, while assemblage B isolates showed variability at the nucleotide but not at the amino acid level at this locus. Some of the assemblage B3 and B4 subtypes identified in humans were previously identified in marsupials in Australia and in a fox, indicating potential zoonotic transmission.
2009 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.