Acta Parasitologica

, 54:1 | Cite as

Occurrence of Cryptosporidium hominis in pigeons (Columba livia)

  • Néstor Abreu-Acosta
  • Pilar Foronda-Rodríguez
  • Mercedes López
  • Basilio Valladares


This study demonstrated the presence of Cryptosporidium hominis in pigeons for the first time. Previously, C. hominis had been cited only in another bird species, Branta canadiensis. The present findings suggest that pigeons may act as mechanical vectors for this protozoan.


Cryptosporidium hominis pigeons Canary Islands 


  1. Abreu-Acosta N., Martín-Delgado M., Ortega Rivas A., del Castillo Remiro A., Aguiar González E., Valladares Hernández B. 2002. Presencia de Giardia lamblia y Cryptosporidium sp. en aguas residuales depuradas reutilizadas para riego agrícola en la isla de Tenerife, EspaZa. Efectos del transporte a larga distancia sobre la calidad del agua reutilizada. Revista de Salud Ambiental, 2, 2–7.Google Scholar
  2. Abreu-Acosta N., Quispe M.A., Foronda-Rodríguez P., Alcoba-Florez J., Lorenzo-Morales L., Ortega-Rivas A., Valladares B. 2007. Cryptosporidium in patients with diarrhoea, on Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, 101, 1–7. DOI: 10.1179/136485907X193798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anonymous 2000. Surveillance of waterborne disease and water quality: January to June 2000, and summary of 1999. CDR Weekly, 10, 319–322.Google Scholar
  4. Anonymous 2003. Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo, Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Vigilancia epidemiológica de la criptosporidiosis en EspaZa. Boletín Epidemiológico, 11, 277–284.Google Scholar
  5. Borodina O.N., Zhukova E.V., Kravets Z.F. 1994. The detection of the causative agent of cryptosporidiosis in man and animals in Turkmenistan. Meditsinskaya Parazitologiya i Parazitarnye Bolezni, 1, 8–11 (In Russian).Google Scholar
  6. Bukhari Z., Smith H.V., Sykes N., Humphreys S.W., Paton C.A., Girdwood R.W.A., Fricker C.R. 1997. Ocurrence of Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts and Giardia spp. cysts in sewage influents and effluents from treated plants in England. Water Science and Technology, 35, 385–390. DOI: 10.1016/S0273- 1223(97)00290-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Caccib S.M., De Giacomo M., Aulicino F.A., Pozio E. 2003. Giardia cysts in wastewater plants in Italy. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69, 3393–3398. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.69. 6.3393-3398.2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Casemore D.P. 1997. Cryptosporidiosis-human and animal epidemiology. In: (Ed. R. Fayer) Cryptosporidium and cryptosporidiosis. CRC Press, Boca Raton, 65–92.Google Scholar
  9. Chen X.M., Keithly J.S., Paya C.V., LaRusso N.F. 2002. Cryptosporidiosis. New England Journal of Medicine, 346, 1723–1731. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra013170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Emmerson K.W. 1985. Estudio de la biología y ecología de la Paloma Turqué y la Paloma Rabiche con vista a su conservaci ón. Ornistudio S.L., Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 355 pp.Google Scholar
  11. Emmons C.W. 1951. Isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans from soil. Journal of Bacteriology, 62, 685–690.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Emmons C.W. 1955. Saprophytic sources of Cryptococcus neoformans associated with the pigeon (Columba livia). American Journal of Hygiene, 62, 227–232.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Fayer R., Morgan U., Upton S.J. 2000. Epidemiology of Cryptosporidium: transmission, detection and identification. International Journal for Parasitology, 30, 1305–1322. DOI: 10. 1016/S0020-7519(00)00135-1.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Giles M., Webster K.A., Marshall J.A., Catchpole J., Goddard T.M. 2001. Experimental infection of a lamb with Crytosporidium parvum genotype 1. Veterinary Record, 149, 523–525.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Graczyk T.K., Fayer R., Trout J.M., Lewis E.J., Farley C.A., Sulaiman I., Lal A.A. 1998. Giardia sp. cysts and infectious Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts in the feces of migratory Canada geese (Branta canadiensis). Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 64, 2736–2738.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Graczyk T.K., Majewska A.C., Schwab K.J. 2008. The role of birds in dissemination of human waterborne enteropathogens. Trends in Parasitology, 24, 55–59. DOI: 10.1016/ Scholar
  17. Graczyk T.K., Sunderland D., Rule A.M., da Silva A.J., Moura I.N.S., Tamang L., Girouard A.S., Schwab K.J., Breysse P.N. 2007. Urban feral pigeons (Columba livia) as a source for air and waterborne contamination with Enterocytozoon bieneusi spores. Applied and Environmetal Microbiology, 73, 4357–4358. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00202-07.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Haro M., Izquierdo F., Henriquez-Gil N., Andrés I., Alonso F., Fenoy S., del Águila C. 2005. First detection and genotyping of human-associated microsporidia in pigeons from urban parks. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71, 3153–3157. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.71.6.3153-3157.2005.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Henriksen S., Pohlenz J. 1981. Staining of cryptosporidia by modified Ziehl-Neelsen technique. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 22, 594–596.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Ho B.S.W., Tam T.-Y., Hutton P., Yam W.C. 1995. Detection and enumeration of Giardia cysts in river waters of Hong Kong by flocculation-percoll/sucrose gradient-immunofluorescence method. Water Science and Technology, 31, 431–434. DOI: 10.1016/0273-1223(95)00306-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kimura A. 1980. A simple method for estimating evolutionary rates of base substitutions through comparative studies of nucleotide sequences. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 16, 111–120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kumar S., Tamura K., Nei M. 2004. MEGA3: Integrated software for Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis and sequence alignment. Briefings in Bioinformatics, 5, 150–163. DOI: 10.10 93/bib/5.2.150.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kwon-Chung K.J., Bennett J. 1978. Distribution of alpha and alpha mating types of Cryptococcus neoformans among natural and clinical isolates. American Journal of Epidemiology, 4, 337–339.Google Scholar
  24. LeChevalier M.W., Norton W.D., Lee R.G. 1991b. Occurrence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp. in surface water supplies. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 57, 2610–2616.Google Scholar
  25. LeChevalier M.W., Norton W.D., Lee R.G. 1991a. Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp. in filtered drinking water supplies. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 57, 2617–2621.Google Scholar
  26. Lowery C.J., Moore J.E., Millar B.C., McCorry K.A., Xu J., Rooney P.J., Dooley J.S. 2001. Occurrence and molecular genotyping of Cryptosporidium spp. in surface waters in Northern Ireland. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 91, 203–209. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2001.01440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McLauchlin J., Amar C., Pedraza-Díaz S., Nichols G.L. 2000. Molecular epidemiology analysis of Cryptosporidium spp. in the United Kingdom: results of genotyping Cryptosporidium spp. in 1705 fecal samples from humans and 105 fecal samples from livestock animals. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 39, 3984–3990.Google Scholar
  28. Montemayor M., Valero F., Jofre J., Lucena F. 2005. Occurrence of Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts in raw and treated sewage and river water in north-eastern Spain. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 99, 1455–1462. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2005.02 737.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Morgan U.M., Xiao L., Hill B.D., O’Donoghue P., Limor J., Lal A., Thompson R.C.A. 2000. Detection of Cryptosporidium parvum. human genotype. in a dugong (Dugong dugon). Journal of Parasitology, 86, 1352–1354. DOI: 10.1645/0022- 3395(2000)086[1352:DOTCPH]2.0.CO;2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ozkul I.A., Aydin Y. 1994. Small-intestinal cryptosporidiosis in a young pigeon. Avian Pathology, 23, 369–372.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Peng M.M., Xiao L., Freeman A.R., Arrowood M.J., Escalante A.A., Weltman A.C. 1997. Genetic polymorphism among Cryptosporidium parvum isolates: evidence of two distinct human transmission cycles. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 3, 567–573.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Robertson L.J., Paton C.A., Campbell A.T., Smith P.G., Jackson M.H., Gilmour R.A., Black S.E., Stevenson D.A., Smith H.V. 2000. Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts at sewage treatment works in Scotland, UK. Water Research, 34, 2310–2322. DOI: 10.1016/S0043-1354(99)00408-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rodríguez F., Orós J., Rodríguez J.L., González J., Castro P., Fernández A. 1997. Intestinal cryptosporidiosis in pigeons (Columba livia). Avian Diseases, 41, 748–750.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Smith H.V., Nichols R.A., Mallon M., Macleod A., Tait A., Reilly W.J., Browning L.M., Gray D., Reid S.W., Wastling J.M. 2005. Natural Cryptosporidium hominis infections in Scottish cattle. Veterinary Record, 156, 710–711.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Sulaiman I.M., Xiao L., Yang C., Escalante L., Moore A., Beard C.B., Arrowood M.J., Lal A.A. 1998. Differentiating human from animal isolates of Cryptosporidium parvum. Emerging and Infectious Diseases, 4, 681–685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thompson J.D., Gibson T.J., Plewniak F., Jeanmougin F., Higgins D.G. 1997. The Clustal X windows interface: Flexible strategies for multiple sequence alignment aided by quality analysis tools. Nucleic Acids Research, 25, 4876–4882. DOI: 10. 1093/nar/25.24.4876.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vesey G., Slade J.S., Byrne M., Shepherd K., Fricker C.R. 1993. A new method for the concentration of Cryptosporidium oocysts from water. Journal of Applied Bacteriology, 75, 82–86.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Xiao L., Bern C., Limor J., Sulaiman I., Roberts J., Checkley W., Cabrera L., Gilman R.H., Lal A.A. 2001. Identification of 5 types of Cryptosporidium parasites in children in Lima, Peru. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 183, 492–497. DOI: 10.10 86/318090.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Xiao L., Escalante L., Yang C., Sulaiman I., Escalante A.A., Montali R.J., Fayer R., Lal A.A. 1999a. Phylogenetic analysis of Cryptosporidium parasites based on the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene locus. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 65, 1578–1583.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Xiao L., Morgan U., Limor J., Escalante A., Arrowood M., Shulaw W., Thompson R.C.A., Fayer R., Lal A.A. 1999b. Genetic diversity within Cryptosporidium parvum and related Cryptosporidium species. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 65, 3386–3391.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhou L., Kassa H., Tischler M.L., Xiao L. 2004. Host-adapted Cryptosporidium spp. in Canada geese (Branta canadiensis). Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70, 4211–4215. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.70.7.4211-4215.2004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© © Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Néstor Abreu-Acosta
    • 1
  • Pilar Foronda-Rodríguez
    • 1
  • Mercedes López
    • 1
  • Basilio Valladares
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Universitario de Enfermedades Tropicales y Salud Pública de CanariasLa Laguna, Tenerife, Canary IslandsSpain

Personalised recommendations