affects humans as well as wild and captive animals. Humans
and captive animals can become infected when drinking
contaminated water (and the majority of municipal water
supplies do not eradicate or kill Cryptosporidium,
nor do most water purification devices people attached
to their faucets or main water lines). When herp keepers
feed their captive herps wild-caught prey, they are also
exposing their herps to the risk of Cryptosporidium.
Cryptosporidium can be relatively benign in healthy
humans and animals, but can be deadly in those who are
immunocompromised and otherwise considered to be at high
risk for bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. Since
captive herps, especially wild-caught ones, are always
stressed to some degree, feeding wild-caught prey increases
their risk of contracting parasites.
diversity of Cryptosporidium spp. in captive reptiles.
Xiao L, Ryan UM, Graczyk TK, Limor J, Li L, Kombert M,
Junge R, Sulaiman IM, Zhou L, Arrowood MJ, Koudela B,
Modry D, Lal AA. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Feb;70(2):891-9.
genetic diversity of Cryptosporidium in reptiles was analyzed
by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequence
analysis of the small subunit rRNA gene. A total of 123
samples were analyzed, of which 48 snake samples, 24 lizard
samples, and 3 tortoise samples were positive for Cryptosporidium:
Nine different types of Cryptosporidium were found,
including Cryptosporidium serpentis, Cryptosporidium
desert monitor genotype, Cryptosporidium muris,
Cryptosporidium parvum bovine and mouse genotypes,
one C. serpentis-like parasite in a lizard, two
new Cryptosporidium spp. in snakes, and one new
Cryptosporidium sp. in tortoises. C. serpentis
and the desert monitor genotype were the most common parasites
and were found in both snakes and lizards, whereas the
C. muris and C. parvum parasites detected
were probably the result of ingestion of infected rodents.
Sequence and biologic characterizations indicated that
the desert monitor genotype was Cryptosporidium saurophilum.
Two host-adapted C. serpentis genotypes were found
in snakes and lizards. [Full
enteritis in leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) associated
with Cryptosporidium sp. infection. Terrell SP, Uhl
EW, Funk RS. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2003 Mar;34(1):69-75.
leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) with various
clinical histories of weight loss, anorexia, lethargy,
and diarrhea were submitted either intact or as biopsy
specimens to the University of Florida Anatomic Pathology
Service. Gross necropsy findings in the intact geckos
included marked reduction of subcutaneous adipose tissue
stores at the tail base and mild thickening and reddening
of the small intestine. Histologic examination revealed
Cryptosporidium sp. infection associated with hyperplasia
and mononuclear inflammation of the small intestine in
all geckos. Parasites and lesions were only rarely observed
in the stomach and large intestine of geckos. The histologic
and ultrastructural lesions in the small intestine of
leopard geckos infected with Cryptosporidium sp.
have not been well characterized previously. This report
implicates Cryptosporidium sp. as the cause of
disease in the geckos and describes the range of histologic
polyps associated with Cryptosporidium infection
in three iguanas (Iguana iguana). Uhl EW, Jacobson
E, Bartick TE, Micinilio J, Schimdt R. Vet Pathol 2001
spp. infection was associated with aural-pharyngeal polyps
in three iguanas (Iguana iguana). All iguanas were
presented for masses protruding from the ear canal, and
the disease was characterized by a chronic clinical course.
The masses consisted of nests of cystic glands surrounded
by abundant fibrous connective tissue and lined by hyperplastic
cuboidal to pseudostratified columnar epithelium that
was moderately to heavily colonized by cryptosporidial
organisms. Electron microscopy revealed that the majority
of organisms were trophozoites.
hyperimmune bovine colostrum treatment of Savanna monitors
(Varanus exanthematicus) infected with Cryptosporidium
sp. Graczyk TK, Cranfield MR, Bostwick EF.J Parasitol
based on the protective passive immunity of hyperimmune
bovine colostrum (HBC) (raised against Cryptosporidium
parvum in cows) was applied to 4 Savanna monitors
(Varanus exanthematicus) with gastric Cryptosporidium
sp. infections. All lizards were moderately emaciated,
and their fecal and gastric lavage samples contained moderate
numbers of Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts. The first
3 of 7 gastric HBC treatments at 1-wk interval each decreased
the numbers of oocysts in the fecal and gastric samples
to undetectable levels. Neither feces nor lavages of the
HBC-treated lizards contained Cryptosporidium sp.
oocysts after the HBC therapy, whereas such samples of
a single control lizard remained positive for oocysts.
Two of the HBC-treated lizards died spontaneously due
to metastasized carcinoma and septicemia of unknown etiology,
respectively, and 2 lizards treated and killed during
the experiment were histologically negative for developmental
stages of Cryptosporidium sp. The control lizard
died spontaneously of septicemia of unknown etiology and
contained developmental stages of Cryptosporidium
sp. in the gastric region. The HBC therapy was efficacious
in V. exanthematicus and is recommended for lizards
with gastric cryptosporidiosis.
serpentis oocysts and microsporidian spores in feces of
captive snakes. Graczyk TK,
Cranfield MR. J Parasitol 2000 Apr;86(2):413-4
Fecal smears of 90 snakes, 29 lizards, and 8 turtles
and tortoises were tested for Cryptosporidium spp.
oocysts and microsporidian spores. Microsporidian spores
measured mean = 3.7 microm in length and mean = 2.3 microm
in width and were present in feces of 19 snakes and 1
lizard (16%); 13 of these snakes also shed Cryptosporidium
serpentis oocysts. The oocysts were numerous in all positive
samples, whereas microsporidian spores were always sparse,
irrespective if whether fecal samples contained the oocysts.
Retrospective examination of reptile clinical records
revealed that all animals shedding microsporidian spores
died naturally due to diseases, pathologic conditions,
and clinical problems or were killed due to severe cryptosporidiosis.
The present study indicates that microsporidian infections
in reptiles have the features of an opportunistic infection.
and pathological observations on natural infections of
cryptosporidiosis and flagellate protozoa in leopard geckos
(Eublepharis macularius). Taylor MA, Geach
MR, Cooley WA. Vet Rec 1999 Dec 11;145(24):695-9
group of adult leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius)
which had been losing weight for several months were found
to be infected with Cryptosporidium species. Histological
and electron microscopical investigations on the intestines
of five of the lizards revealed the presence of large
numbers of the developmental stages of Cryptosporidium
species attached to the mucosal surface of the lower intestine,
and large numbers of flagellate protozoa, suspected to
be predominantly Trichomonas species, in the gut
lumen. The clinical signs were attributed to the presence
of one or both types of parasites.
Cryptosporidium sp. infection in the Egyptian tortoise,
Testudo kleinmanni. Graczyk TK, Cranfield MR, Mann
J, Strandberg JD. Int J Parasitol 1998 Dec;28(12):1885-8
adult Egyptian tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni) presented
with clinical signs of enteritis and died 5 weeks after
initiation of antibiotic therapy. Histological examination
of the small intestine revealed heavy infection with Cryptosporidium
sp.; over 80% of epithelial cells harboured the pathogen.
No Cryptosporidium developmental stages were present
in the stomach or the lungs. The intestinal lamina propria
and mucosa were infiltrated by heterophils, lymphocytes
and macrophages. The present study constitutes the first
report of Cryptosporidium sp. infection in T.
kleinmanni, and the first histological documentation
of intestinal cryptosporidiosis in Chelonia.
Found In Woodland Creatures.
Watch out. Those innocent woodland creatures could
be harboring the Cryptosporidium parasite, say
researchers from Columbia University. They report their
findings in the March 2001 issue of the journal Applied
and Environmental Microbiology.
performed a wildlife survey, focusing on white-tailed
deer and small mammals, to assess whether they may serve
as environmental sources of Cryptosporidium,"
say the researchers. They collected fecal samples from
several locations in lower New York State over a two year
period and tested them for the parasite. They found evidence
of the parasite in samples from white-tailed deer, chipmunks,
skunks, racoons and muskrats.
data provide evidence that there is sylvatic transmission
of Cryptosporidium parvum involving deer and other
small mammals. This study affirmed the importance of wildlife
as potential sources of Cryptosporidium in the
catchments of public water supplies," say the researchers.
parvum infection involving novel genotypes in wildlife
from lower New York State. J. Perz and S. Le Blancq.
2001. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 67:
an enteric parasite of humans and a wide range of other
mammals, presents numerous challenges to the supply of
safe drinking water. We performed a wildlife survey, focusing
on white-tailed deer and small mammals, to assess whether
they may serve as environmental sources of Cryptosporidium.
A PCR-based approach that permitted genetic characterization
via sequence analysis was applied to wildlife fecal samples
(n = 111) collected from September 1996 to July 1998 from
three areas in lower New York State. Southern analysis
revealed 22 fecal samples containing Cryptosporidium
small-subunit (SSU) ribosomal DNA; these included 10 of
91 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) samples,
3 of 5 chipmunk (Tamias striatus) samples, 1 of
2 white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) samples,
1 of 2 striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) samples,
1 of 5 racoon (Procyon lotor) samples, and 6 of
6 muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) samples. All of
the 15 SSU PCR products sequenced were characterized as
Cryptosporidium parvum; two were identical to genotype
2 (bovine), whereas the remainder belonged to two novel
SSU sequence groups, designated genotypes 3 and 4. Genotype
3 comprised four deer-derived sequences, whereas genotype
4 included nine sequences from deer, mouse, chipmunk,
and muskrat samples. PCR analysis was performed on the
SSU-positive fecal samples for three other Cryptosporidium
loci (dihydrofolate reductase, polythreonine-rich protein,
and beta-tubulin), and 8 of 10 cloned PCR products were
consistent with C. parvum genotype 2. These data
provide evidence that there is sylvatic transmission of
C. parvum involving deer and other small mammals.
This study affirmed the importance of wildlife as potential
sources of Cryptosporidium in the catchments of
public water supplies.
QUALITY: Sequential disinfection process provides safer
James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor, News
Ill. -- Fresh from the faucet, a killer may be lurking
in your glass. Cryptosporidium
parvum is a parasitic protozoan that can infiltrate a
citys water supply -- as happened in Milwaukee in
March 1993, when more than 400,000 people were infected.
With symptoms similar to food poisoning, outbreaks of
cryptosporidiosis can prove deadly for individuals with
immune system deficiency problems.
at the University of Illinois are developing a cost-effective
treatment strategy for providing drinking water free of
this harmful contaminant.
surface-water disinfection systems in the U.S. were originally
designed, or subsequently modified, to control contamination
by another dangerous microbe, Giardia lamblia," said
Benito Marinas, a UI professor of civil and environmental
engineering. "Unfortunately, the disinfectant concentration
and contact time in these systems are generally inadequate
for killing C. parvum."
the parasite is also complicated by the fact that, outside
its host, C. parvum enters a spore-like dormant
stage, Marinas said. "Encased in a dense wall of
proteins and lipids, this oocyst is extremely
resistant to chlorine -- the disinfectant most commonly
used in water treatment plants."
and graduate students Amy Driedger and Jason Rennecker
have found that sequentially applying two disinfectants
-- such as ozone and chlorine -- is much more effective
in killing C. parvum than either treatment alone.
The primary disinfection step can result in secondary
disinfection rate increases of up to 2,200 percent, compared
to the rates for a single disinfectant.
some water treatment plants already use ozone to kill
G. lamblia, they are not designed to kill C.
parvum, which requires 25 to 40 times greater ozone
exposure. But, by first using ozone -- at levels to kill
G. lamblia -- and then following with chlorine,
the researchers can easily destroy C. parvum.
not only attacks the oocyst wall thereby opening
the door for the next disinfectant it also oxygenates
the wall and changes the very nature of the material,
making it more susceptible to chlorine," Marinas
said. He and his students are currently characterizing
the synergistic effects that take place, and optimizing
the sequential disinfection process.
chlorine as the secondary disinfectant also carries an
additional benefit, Marinas said.
ozone, which decomposes rapidly, chlorine will remain
in the distribution system for a long time, offering protection
against any subsequent contamination."
the sequential disinfection process works most effectively
at low temperatures, it offers a potential solution to
killing C. parvum oocysts during the wintertime
in regions where the water temperature approaches the
freezing point, Marinas said.
researchers published their latest findings in the January
issue of Water Research, a journal of the International
Water Association. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
and the Illinois Water Resources Center provided funding
for the work.
sp. in a free ranging house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)
Parassitologia 2001 Sep;43(3):91-3
of Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts in fecal and water
samples in Austria, Acta Trop 2001 Oct 22;80(2):145-9
new species of coccidia (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from
East African chameleons (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae),J
Parasitol 2000 Apr;86(2):373-9
bovine colostrum treatment of moribund Leopard geckos
(Eublepharis macularius) infected with Cryptosporidium
sp.,Vet Res. 1999 Jul-Aug;30(4):377-82.
(keywords: Cryptosporidium AND reptile)
Group on Waterborne Cryptosporidium Handbook
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FOODNET publications on Cryptosporidium
& Mortality Weekly (MMWR): Cryptosporidium
Division of Parasitic Diseases Cryptosporidium
Preventing Cryptosporidosis: A Guide to Bottled Water
and Water Filters
Cryptosporidium genotypes in cryptic cryptosporidosis
cases: First report of human infection with a cervine
genotype, EID 8(3), Mar 2002