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Giardia Infection and Trypanosoma Cruzi Exposure in Dogs in the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, Nicaragua

  • Amber F. Roegner
  • Miles E. Daniels
  • Woutrina A. Smith
  • Nicole Gottdenker
  • Laura M. Schwartz
  • James Liu
  • Amanda Campbell
  • Christine V. FiorelloEmail author
Original Contribution


Indigenous Mayangna and Miskitu inhabit Nicaragua’s remote Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, located in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region. They are sedentary horticulturists who supplement their diet with wild game, hunting with the assistance of dogs. To test whether hunting dogs increased the risk of human exposure to protozoal zoonotic neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), we sampled dogs from three communities varying in population size and level of contact with other communities. We screened dog feces (n = 58) for Giardia and Cryptosporidium DNA and sera (n = 78) for Trypanosoma cruzi antibodies and DNA. Giardia DNA was detected in 22% (13/58) of samples; sequencing revealed the presence of both zoonotic genotypes (assemblages A and B) and dog-specific genotypes (assemblages C and D). Giardia shedding was associated with community and age. Older dogs and those in the two, more accessible communities had greater odds of shedding parasites. Seroprevalence of T. cruzi antibodies, indicating prior exposure, was 9% (7/78). These results contribute to the limited literature on NTDs in indigenous populations, and suggest hunting dogs can both serve as sentinels of environmental NTDs and pose zoonotic risk for their owners and communities.


Bosawás Domestic dogs Giardia Nicaragua Trypanosoma cruzi Indigenous health 



We thank U. Coleman, O. Dixon, F. Diaz-Santos, F. Gonzales, G. Gonzales, J. Foley, L. Hull, J. Koster, P. Rodriguez, C. Gonzales, J. Saucier, L. Faherty, K. Thomas, and L. Shender for technical and logistic assistance, the Campbell Pet Company for in-kind support, and three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All applicable institutional and/or national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

10393_2019_1434_MOESM1_ESM.csv (4 kb)
S1Dataset. Original data for dogs in three communities of the Bosawás Reserve, Nicaragua, documenting exposure to or infection with Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Trypanosoma cruzi. The first tab (“Giardia & Crypto”) includes results of 58 dogs tested via PCR for Giardia and Cryptosporidium. The second tab (“Giardia tables”) shows Giardia Assemblage information as well as summary tables and chi-square tests of location, sex, and age and logistic regression results for location. The third tab (“Chagas PCR”) shows results of 58 dogs tested via PCR for T. cruzi. The fourth and final tab (“Chagas serology”) shows results of two serologic tests performed on serum of dogs, the RAPID test performed on a small number of dogs, and confirmatory tests performed on those dogs returning positive results, as well as results of the confirmatory test performed at TVMDL performed (at a later date) on those dogs that were not tested initially with the RAPID test. (CSV 3 kb)


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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amber F. Roegner
    • 1
    • 5
  • Miles E. Daniels
    • 1
    • 2
  • Woutrina A. Smith
    • 1
  • Nicole Gottdenker
    • 3
  • Laura M. Schwartz
    • 4
  • James Liu
    • 4
    • 6
  • Amanda Campbell
    • 4
  • Christine V. Fiorello
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.One Health Institute, School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Marine SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  4. 4.Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  5. 5.School of Natural ResourcesUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  6. 6.The Turtle ConservancyNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Albuquerque BioParkAlbuquerqueUSA

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