Molecular detection and genotype distribution of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in farmed silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) in Shandong Province, eastern China

  • Yuan-Yuan Ma
  • Yang Zou
  • Ye-Ting Ma
  • Lan-Bi Nie
  • Shi-Chen Xie
  • Wei Cong
  • Qian-Ming Xu
  • Xing-Quan ZhuEmail author
Genetics, Evolution, and Phylogeny - Short Communication


Enterocytozoon bieneusi is an opportunistic enteric pathogen which can infect a wide range of animal species and humans. It is the most diagnosed species of Microsporidia in humans and has an impact on public health. Many infected animals including foxes may be a potential source for transmitting E. bieneusi to humans. However, limited information is available on the E. bieneusi prevalence and genotypes in farmed foxes in China. Therefore, in the present study, 344 fresh fecal samples were collected from farmed foxes (Vulpes vulpes and Vulpes lagopus) in Shandong Province, and the prevalence and genotypes of E. bieneusi were examined based on sequence analysis of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. The overall E. bieneusi prevalence was 9% (31/344); of them, 6.5% (9/138) in farmed silver foxes (V. vulpes) and 10.7% (22/206) in farmed arctic foxes (V. lagopus). Moreover, four known (Hum-q1, NCF2, HND-1, and Type IV) and two novel E. bieneusi genotypes (SDF1 and SDF2) were identified in farmed foxes in the present study. All of the E. bieneusi genotypes belonged to the zoonotic group based on phylogenetic analysis. In addition, 2, 4, 0, and 11 samples were successfully amplified at MS1, MS3, MS4, and MS7 loci, respectively. The present study reveals E. bieneusi prevalence and genotype distribution in farmed foxes in Shandong Province and enlarged the host and geographic information of E. bieneusi in China.


Enterocytozoon bieneusi Farmed foxes Prevalence Genotypes Shandong Province China 


Funding information

Project support was provided by the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program (ASTIP) (Grant No. CAAS-ASTIP-2016-LVRI-03) and The Elite Program of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

This study was reviewed and approved by the Animal Administration and Ethics Committee of Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. All fecal samples were collected from the farmed foxes after the permission of the farm owners or managers, and all procedures were performed strictly in accordance with the requirements of Animal Ethics Procedures and Guidelines of the People’s Republic of China.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Animal Science and TechnologyAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology, Key Laboratory of Veterinary Parasitology of Gansu Province, Lanzhou Veterinary Research InstituteChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Marine CollegeShandong University at WeihaiWeihaiPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Jiangsu Co-innovation Center for the Prevention and Control of Important Animal Infectious Diseases and ZoonosesYangzhou University College of Veterinary MedicineYangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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