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Direct characterization of Blastocystis from faeces by PCR and evidence of zoonotic potential

  • U. PARKAR (a1), R. J. TRAUB (a1), S. KUMAR (a2), M. MUNGTHIN (a3), S. VITALI (a4), S. LEELAYOOVA (a3), K. MORRIS (a5) and R. C. A. THOMPSON (a1)...

In vitro propagation followed by PCR, and a PCR-based method capable of the direct detection of Blastocystis in faeces were utilized to detect Blastocystis from various hosts in Australia, including primates and their handlers from the Perth Zoo. In addition, Blastocystis isolates from dogs and humans living in a localized endemic community in Thailand were also characterized genetically. PCR-based detection directly from faeces was shown to be more sensitive compared with in vitro culture for the detection of Blastocystis. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis of Blastocystis isolates amplified utilizing in vitro techniques prior to PCR revealed that this method favoured the preferential amplification of Blastocystis subtype 5 over subtype 1. This study is the first to provide molecular-based evidence supporting the zoonotic potential of Blastocystis in dogs, possums and primates in a natural setting.

Corresponding author
WHO Collaborating Centre for the Molecular Epidemiology of Parasitic Infections, School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, South Street, Western Australia 6150. Tel: +61 8 9360 2466. Fax: +61 8 9310 4144. E-mail:
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