, Volume 86, Issue 7, pp 537-541

Entamoeba dispar, but not E. histolytica, detected in a colony of chimpanzees in Japan

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Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) residing in the Kumamoto Primate Research Park, Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho, were surveyed for the presence of intestinal parasites. Stool samples from 107 chimpanzees were examined by microscopy after formalin-ether sedimentation. Of these animals, 100 were infected with at least 1 species of ameba. The positivity rates recorded were as follows: Entamoeba coli, 88%; E. histolytica/E. dispar, 48%; E. hartmanni, 15%; Iodamoeba buetschlii, 8%; Endolimax nana, 4%; and Entamoeba chattoni, 2%. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis to distinguish between E. histolytica and E. dispar was performed on these samples. E. dispar DNA was detected in 60 of 107 samples (56%), including 9 that had been microscopically determined to be negative for E. histolytica/E. dispar. In contrast, no E. histolytica DNA was detected in the 107 samples. Zymodeme analysis indicated that 10 isolates were E. dispar. When 104 chimpanzees were examined serologically for E. histolytica infection, 1 sample was scored as positive by indirect hemagglutination and another was found to be positive by an indirect fluorescent antibody test. However, both specimens were borderline-positive and were clearly negative in other tests, suggesting that they might be false-positives. These results demonstrate that the pathogenic E. histolytica was absent in this colony, regardless of the high degree of prevalence of other amebas. For an accurate diagnosis, PCR analysis is recommended in addition to microscopic examination.

Received: 13 December 1999 / Accepted: 13 January 2000