Giardia and Cryptosporidium in inflowing water and harvested shellfish in a lagoon in Southern Italy.Parasitol Int. 2009 Mar; 58(1):12-7.PI
Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp. are important enteric protozoan pathogens for humans and animals, and have been found to contaminate water as well as edible shellfish all over the world. This is the first study to simultaneously investigate the presence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in inflowing water and harvested shellfish in a geographically closed environment (Varano Lagoon, Southern Italy). Samples of treated wastewater were collected each month - at the outlet from the treatment plant, and downstream at the inlet into the lagoon - from the channels flowing into the Lagoon, together with specimens of Ruditapes decussatus and Mytilus galloprovincialis from shellfish-farms on the same lagoon. Giardia cysts were found by immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy in 16 out of 21 samples of treated wastewater and in 7 out of 21 samples from downstream water channels, and viable cysts were also detected by a beta-giardin RT-PCR. G. duodenalis Assemblages A and B were identified by small ribosomal subunit (18S-rDNA) and triosephosphate isomerase (tpi)-PCR, followed by sequencing. Cryptosporidium oocysts were found by IF in 5 out of 21 wastewater samples, and in 8 out of 21 samples from water channels. Molecular analysis identified the zoonotic species Cryptosporidium parvum by oocyst wall protein (COWP)-PCR and sequencing. Higher concentrations of Giardia cysts than Cryptosporidium oocysts were registered in almost all wastewater and water samples. IF and molecular testing of shellfish gave negative results for both protozoa. Wastewaters carrying Giardia and Cryptosporidium (oo)cysts are discharged into the Lagoon; however, the shellfish harvested in the same environment were found to be unaffected, thus suggesting that physical, ecological and climatic conditions may prevent contamination of harvested shellfish.