Volume 61, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Filter-feeding molluscan shellfish can concentrate zoonotic and anthroponotic waterborne pathogens. Cysts of Giardia sp. were detected by immunofluorescent antibodies in tissues of the clams Macoma balthica and M. mitchelli from Rhode River, a Chesapeake Bay (Maryland) subestuary. Molecular tests identified the cysts as Giardia duodenalis Genotype A, the most common genotype recovered from humans. Macoma clams are burrowers in mud or sandy-mud substrata and preferentially feed on the surface sediment layer. Waterborne Giardia cysts settle rapidly to the bottom in slow-moving waters and contaminate the sediment. Macoma clams do not have economic value, but can serve as biologic indicators of sediment contamination with Giardia sp. cysts of public health importance. These clams can be used for sanitary assessment of water quality.


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