The genus Cryptosporidium, which is an obligate intracellular parasite, infects various vertebrates and causes a diarrheal disease known as cryptosporidiosis. Wild rodents are naturally infected with zoonotic Cryptosporidium; thus, they are potential reservoirs of the parasites. Mice are common rodents frequently found in agricultural areas and have many opportunities to contact other wild animals, livestock, and humans. Irrespective of the potential risk, there are few epidemiologic studies of Cryptosporidium in wild mice because of their low economic importance and the difficulty in conducting surveys. Hence, the species and genotypes of Cryptosporidium in wild mice living around various areas remain unclear. We investigated the species and genotype distribution and prevalence of Cryptosporidium in the large Japanese field mouse (Apodemus speciosus) in an agricultural site in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. In total, 15 mice were captured and examined in this study. By microscopic analysis, only one mouse (JFM 3) was determined to be Cryptosporidium-positive, while the parasite were detected in four mice (JFM 3, 6, 10, and 15) by a molecular approach using partial SSU rRNA gene sequences. Based on nucleotide sequence and phylogenetic analysis, the Cryptosporidium isolates were identified as C. ubiquitum (from JFM 10) and C. muris (from JFM 3 and 6). In contrast, the Cryptosporidium in JFM 15 was not identified as a known species or genotype and is therefore proposed as a novel genotype; the Naruko genotype. More molecular data are necessary to elucidate the taxonomic identity of this novel Cryptosporidium genotype. The C. muris Japanese field mouse genotypes showed marked divergence compared to that in a previous report. The large Japanese field mouse might thus represent a reservoir of multiple Cryptosporidium spp.
Keywords: Cryptosporidium Naruko genotype; Cryptosporidium muris; Cryptosporidium ubiquitum; Large Japanese field mouse; Rodents.
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