Infections by the protist enteroparasites Giardia duodenalis, Cryptosporidium spp., and, to a much lesser extent, Blastocystis sp. are common causes of childhood diarrhoea in low-income countries. This molecular epidemiological study assesses the frequency and molecular diversity of these pathogens in faecal samples from asymptomatic schoolchildren (n = 807) and symptomatic children seeking medical attention (n = 286) in Zambezia province, Mozambique. Detection and molecular characterisation of pathogens was conducted by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods coupled with Sanger sequencing. Giardia duodenalis was the most prevalent enteric parasite found [41.7%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 38.8-44.7%], followed by Blastocystis sp. (14.1%, 95% CI: 12.1-16.3%), and Cryptosporidium spp. (1.6%, 95% CI: 0.9-2.5%). Sequence analyses revealed the presence of assemblages A (7.0%, 3/43) and B (88.4%, 38/43) within G. duodenalis-positive children. Four Cryptosporidium species were detected, including C. hominis (30.8%; 4/13), C. parvum (30.8%, 4/13), C. felis (30.8%, 4/13), and C. viatorum (7.6%, 1/13). Four Blastocystis subtypes were also identified including ST1 (22.7%; 35/154), ST2 (22.7%; 35/154), ST3 (45.5%; 70/154), and ST4 (9.1%; 14/154). Most of the genotyped samples were from asymptomatic children. This is the first report of C. viatorum and Blastocystis ST4 in Mozambique. Molecular data indicate that anthropic and zoonotic transmission (the latter at an unknown rate) are important spread pathways of diarrhoea-causing pathogens in Mozambique.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the Health Institute Carlos III (ISCIII), Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Spain), grant number PI16CIII/00024.
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Enteric parasites
- Molecular epidemiology
- molecular epidemiology
- enteric parasites