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Identification of Cryptosporidium Species Infecting Humans in Tunisia

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  • 1 Laboratoire de Recherche 05SP03, Laboratoire de Parasitologie et Laboratoire d’Immunologie-Vaccinologie-Genetique Moléculaire, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia; Service des Maladies Infectieuses, la Rabta, Tunis, Tunisia; Laboratoire d’Immuno-Hématologie Pédiatrique, Centre de Greffe de Moelle Osseuse, Tunis, Tunisia; Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, Hopital Saint Louis, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris et Faculté Denis Diderot, Paris, France

Prevalence and species distribution of Cryptosporidium spp. were determined among 633 immunocompetent children less than five years of age and 75 patients hospitalized for immunodeficiency who lived in northern Tunisia. Microscopy was used for initial screening to detect positive samples and a nested polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis was used to determine the species. Cryptosporidium spp. was identified in 2.7% of cases (19 stool samples), and there was a significant difference between samples collected from immunocompromised patients and those collected from healthy children (10.7% versus 1.7%). Prevalence was also significantly higher in diarrheal specimens than in formed specimens (6.3% versus 1.6%). Cryptosporidium hominis and C. parvum were responsible for most Cryptosporidium spp. infections (78.9%). Cryptosporidium hominis was more prevalent in children from urban areas than in those from rural areas, and C. parvum was found with similar prevalence rates in the two populations. Cryptosporidium meleagridis was identified in four children on farms.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Aïda Bouratbine, Laboratoire de Parasitologie, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, 13 Place Pasteur, BP 74, 1002 Tunis Belvedère, Tunisia, Tel: 216-71-890-827, Fax: 216-71791-833, E-mail: aida.bouratbine@pasteur.rns.tn.
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