Molecular subtyping of Blastocystis sp. isolates from symptomatic patients in Italy
Blastocystis isolates from 56 Danish synanthropic and zoo animals, 62 primates primarily from United Kingdom (UK) collections and 16 UK primate handlers were subtyped by PCR, sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. A new subtype (ST) from primates and artiodactyls was identified and designated as Blastocystis sp. ST10. STs isolated from non-human primates (n=70) included ST3 (33%), ST8 (21%), ST2 (16%), ST5 (13%), ST1 (10%), ST4 (4%) and ST10 (3%). A high prevalence of ST8 was seen among primate handlers (25%). This ST is normally very rare in humans, suggesting that acquisition of Blastocystis ST8 infections from primates by their handlers had occurred in these cases. Data from published studies of non-human primates, other mammals and birds were collected and interpreted to generate a comprehensive overview on the ST distribution in such animals. On the basis of information on 438 samples, it was found that Blastocystis from primates belong mainly to ST1, ST2, ST3, ST5 and ST8, ungulates and dogs mainly ST1, ST2, ST3, ST5 and ST10, rodents ST4 and birds mainly ST6 and ST7. The data indicate moderate host specificity, most clearly exemplified by the fact that STs isolated from avian and non-avian hosts rarely overlap.