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Sympatric western lowland gorillas, central chimpanzees and humans are infected with different trichomonads

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2019

K. J. Petrželková
The Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Květná 8, 603 65Brno, Czech Republic The Czech Academy of Sciences, Biology Centre, Institute of Parasitology, Branišovská 31, 370 05České Budějovice, Czech Republic Liberec Zoo, Lidové sady 425/1, 460 01Liberec, Czech Republic
P. Smejkalová
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, 128 44Prague, Czech Republic Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, 128 44Prague, Czech Republic
V. Céza
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, 128 44Prague, Czech Republic
B. Pafčo
The Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Květná 8, 603 65Brno, Czech Republic
K. A. Shutt-Phillips
Fauna & Flora International, Pembroke St, Cambridge, CB2 3QZ, UK
A. Todd
Dzanga Sangha Project, World Wildlife Fund, Bangui, Central African Republic
K. Jirků-Pomajbíková
The Czech Academy of Sciences, Biology Centre, Institute of Parasitology, Branišovská 31, 370 05České Budějovice, Czech Republic Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, České Budějovice, 370 05, Czech Republic
J. Benavides
Departamento de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Facultad de Ciencias de la Vida, Universidad Andrés Bello, Republica 440, Santiago, Chile
D. Modrý
The Czech Academy of Sciences, Biology Centre, Institute of Parasitology, Branišovská 31, 370 05České Budějovice, Czech Republic Department of Pathology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Palackého tř. 1946/1, 612 42Brno, Czech Republic European Institute for Technology (CEITEC), University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Palackého tř. 1946/1, 612 42Brno, Czech Republic
I. Čepička*
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, 128 44Prague, Czech Republic
Author for correspondence: I. Čepička, E-mail:


We investigated intestinal trichomonads in western lowland gorillas, central chimpanzees and humans cohabiting the forest ecosystem of Dzanga-Sangha Protected Area in Central African Republic, using the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and SSU rRNA gene sequences. Trichomonads belonging to the genus Tetratrichomonas were detected in 23% of the faecal samples and in all host species. Different hosts were infected with different genotypes of Tetratrichomonas. In chimpanzees, we detected tetratrichomonads from ‘novel lineage 2’, which was previously reported mostly in captive and wild chimpanzees. In gorillas, we found two different genotypes of Tetratrichomonas. The ITS region sequences of the more frequent genotype were identical to the sequence found in a faecal sample of a wild western lowland gorilla from Cameroon. Sequences of the second genotype from gorillas were almost identical to sequences previously obtained from an anorexic French woman. We provide the first report of the presence of intestinal tetratrichomonads in asymptomatic, apparently healthy humans. Human tetratrichomonads belonged to the lineage 7, which was previously reported in domestic and wild pigs and a domestic horse. Our findings suggest that the ecology and spatial overlap among hominids in the tropical forest ecosystem has not resulted in exchange of intestinal trichomonads among these hosts.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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