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First report on the prevalence and subtype distribution of Blastocystis sp. in dairy cattle in Lebanon and assessment of zoonotic transmission

Abstract : Blastocystis sp. is frequently identified in a wide range of animal hosts, including bovids. Because of its burden and zoonotic potential, this parasite has been sought in domestic cattle from various countries, since this livestock may also represent a possible reservoir of human infection. However, epidemiological data regarding the prevalence and ST distribution of Blastocystis sp. in this animal group is lacking in Lebanon. Therefore, faecal samples were collected from a total of 254 dairy cattle raised on 55 farms located in the North Lebanon region and screened for the presence of the parasite by quantitative real-time PCR. The overall prevalence of Blastocystis sp. was shown to reach 63.4% in cattle livestock. Sequence analysis of positive samples indicated the presence of seven STs, with predominance of ST10 (44.0%) and ST14 (36.8%) and lower proportions of ST2 (8.0%), ST1 (7.2%), ST5 (2.4%), ST3 and ST7 (0.8% each). This survey was the first conducted worldwide reporting ST2 and ST7 in domestic cattle and confirmed that ST10 and ST14 represent cattle-adapted STs in view of their high prevalence. Faecal samples from in-contact dairy farmers and patients hospitalised in the same Lebanese gov-ernorate who reported no contact with cattle livestock were also analysed for the presence of Blastocystis sp. The same three STs were identified in both human cohorts, with predominance of ST3, followed either by ST1 or ST2 depending of the group. No other STs, including ST10 or ST14, have been reported. Moreover, even though ST1, ST2 and ST3 were found to be common to dairy cattle and farmers cohorts, only one ST3 isolate showed 100% sequence identity between both hosts. Consequently, the presence and low prevalence of ST1, ST2, ST3, ST5 and ST7 identified herein in domestic cattle, most of which exhibit low host specificity, could be derived from occasional direct exposure to faecal material from human and non-human hosts or by ingestion of contaminated drinking water or food in the enclosure of the farms. Together with the absence of ST10 and ST14 in the human population, these data suggest that cattle play a negligible role as zoonotic reservoirs of Blastocystis sp.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 10:42:03 AM
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Stéphanie Greige, Dima Safadi, Salma Khaled, Nausicaa Gantois, Martha Baydoun, et al.. First report on the prevalence and subtype distribution of Blastocystis sp. in dairy cattle in Lebanon and assessment of zoonotic transmission. Acta Tropica, Elsevier, 2019, 194, pp.23-29. ⟨10.1016/j.actatropica.2019.02.013⟩. ⟨hal-02399502⟩

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