Molecular detection and genotyping of intestinal protozoa from different biogeographical regions of Colombia

Adriana Higuera, Ximena Villamizar, Giovanny Herrera, Julio Cesar Giraldo, Luis Reinel Vasquez-A, Plutarco Urbano, Oswaldo Villalobos, Catalina Tovar, Juan David Ramírez

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Background: Intestinal parasitic protozoa represent a serious problem of public health particularly in developing countries. Protozoa such as Blastocystis, Giardia intestinalis, Entamoeba histolytica and Cryptosporidium spp. are associated with diarrheal symptoms. In Colombia, there is little region-specific data on the frequency and circulating genotypes/species of these microorganisms. Therefore, the main objective of our study was to employ molecular detection and genotyping of G. intestinalis and Blastocystis, Cryptosporidium and Entamoeba spp. in samples from different biogeographical regions of Colombia. Methods: We collected 649 human fecal samples from five biogeographical regions of Colombia: the Amazon, Andean, Caribbean, Orinoco and Pacific regions. Blastocystis, G. intestinalis, Cryptosporidium spp. and Entamoeba complex were detected by microscopy and conventional PCR. Molecular genotyping was conducted to identify Blastocystis subtypes (STs) (18s), G. intestinalis assemblages (triose phosphate isomerase and glutamate dehydrogenase) and Cryptosporidium species (18s). Genetic diversity indices were determined using dnasp.5. Results: We detected G. intestinalis in 45.4% (n = 280) of samples, Blastocystis in 54.5% (n = 336) of samples, Cryptosporidium spp. in 7.3% (n = 45) of samples, Entamoeba dispar in 1.5% (n = 9) of samples, and Entamoeba moshkovskii in 0.32% (n = 2) of samples. Blastocystis STs 1-4, 8 and 9 and G. intestinalis assemblages AII, BIII, BIV, D and G were identified. The following Cryptosporidium species were identified: C. hominis, C. parvum, C. bovis, C. andersoni, C. muris, C. ubiquitum and C. felis. The Caribbean region had the highest frequency for each of the microorganisms evaluated (91.9% for G. duodenalis, 97.3% for Blastocystis, 10.8% for Cryptosporidium spp., 13.5% for E. dispar and 2.7% for E. moshkovskii). The Orinoco region had a high frequency of Blastocystis (97.2%) and the Andean region had a high frequency of G. intestinalis (69.4%). High and active transmission was apparent in several regions of the country, implying that mechanisms for prevention and control of intestinal parasitosis in different parts of the country must be improved.

Translated title of the contributionDetección y genotipificación molecular de protozoos intestinales de diferentes regiones biogeográficas de Colombia
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere8554
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 9 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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