Parasitology Research

, Volume 93, Issue 5, pp 385–391 | Cite as

Human waterborne parasites in zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) from the Shannon River drainage area, Ireland

  • Thaddeus K. GraczykEmail author
  • David Bruce Conn
  • Frances Lucy
  • Dan Minchin
  • Leena Tamang
  • Lacy N. S. Moura
  • Alexandre J. DaSilva
Original Paper


Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) from throughout the Shannon River drainage area in Ireland were tested for the anthropozoonotic waterborne parasites Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, Encephalitozoon intestinalis, E. hellem, and Enterocytozoon bieneusi, by the multiplexed combined direct immunofluorescent antibody and fluorescent in situ hybridization method, and PCR. Parasite transmission stages were found at 75% of sites, with the highest mean concentration of 16, nine, and eight C. parvum oocysts, G. lamblia cysts, and Encephalitozoon intestinalis spores/mussel, respectively. On average eight Enterocytozoon bieneusi spores/mussel were recovered at any selected site. Approximately 80% of all parasites were viable and thus capable of initiating human infection. The Shannon River is polluted with serious emerging human waterborne pathogens including C. parvum, against which no therapy exists. Zebra mussels can recover and concentrate environmentally derived pathogens and can be used for the sanitary assessment of water quality.


Zebra Mussel Blue Mussel Sterile Phosphate Buffer Saline Dreissena Polymorpha Transmission Stage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The study was supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC (grant no. R824995), The Center for A Livable Future, Baltimore, MD (grant no. H040-951-0180), the Polish Committee for Scientific Research (grant no. 604C02421), and a NATO Collaborative Linkage Grant, CLG 979765.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thaddeus K. Graczyk
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Bruce Conn
    • 2
  • Frances Lucy
    • 3
  • Dan Minchin
    • 4
  • Leena Tamang
    • 1
  • Lacy N. S. Moura
    • 5
  • Alexandre J. DaSilva
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.School of Mathematical and Natural SciencesBerry CollegeMount BerryUSA
  3. 3.School of ScienceInstitute of TechnologySligoIreland
  4. 4.Marine Organism InvestigationsKillaloeIreland
  5. 5.National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health ServiceU.S. Department of Health and Public ServicesAtlantaUSA

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