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Molecular identification of Entamoeba species in savanna woodland chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii)



To address the molecular diversity and occurrence of pathogenic species of the genus Entamoeba spp. in wild non-human primates (NHP) we conducted molecular-phylogenetic analyses on Entamoeba from wild chimpanzees living in the Issa Valley, Tanzania. We compared the sensitivity of molecular [using a genus-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR)] and coproscopic detection (merthiolate-iodine-formaldehyde concentration) of Entamoeba spp. We identified Entamoeba spp. in 72 chimpanzee fecal samples (79%) subjected to species-specific PCRs for six Entamoeba species/groups (Entamoeba histolytica, Entamoeba nuttalli, Entamoeba dispar, Entamoeba moshkovskii, Entamoeba coli and Entamoeba polecki ST2). We recorded three Entamoeba species: E. coli (47%), E. dispar (16%), Entamoeba hartmanni (51%). Coproscopically, we could only distinguish the cysts of complex E. histolytica/dispar/moshkovskii/nuttalli and E. coli. Molecular prevalence of entamoebas was higher than the prevalence based on the coproscopic examination. Our molecular phylogenies showed that sequences of E. dispar and E. coli from Issa chimpanzees are closely related to sequences from humans and other NHP from GenBank. The results showed that wild chimpanzees harbour Entamoeba species similar to those occurring in humans; however, no pathogenic species were detected. Molecular-phylogenetic methods are critical to improve diagnostics of entamoebas in wild NHP and for determining an accurate prevalence of Entamoeba species.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Biology Centre, Institute of Parasitology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic; Liberec Zoo, Masarykova 1347/31, 460 01 Liberec, Czech Republic and Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 60365 Brno, Czech Republic. Phone: +420543422549. Fax: +420543211346. E-mail:


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