Detection and Genotyping Study of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in Sheep and Goats in East-central China



Enterocytozoon bieneusi, the dominant zoonotic species of microsporidia, has been reported in various animals and humans. However, relatively little information is available concerning the worldwide prevalence and genotypes of E. bieneusi in ruminants, such as sheep and goats. The present study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence and genetic characteristics of E. bieneusi in sheep and goats in east-central China.


Fresh fecal samples from 832 sheep and 781 goats were evaluated for the presence of E. bieneusi using PCR and sequencing of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer.


28 sheep specimens (3.4%) and 32 goat specimens (4.1%) were positive for E. bieneusi. A total of 12 ITS genotypes were identified, including 7 known genotypes (COS-I, OEB1, BEB6, CHG1, CHG3, COS-II, and CHC8) and 5 novel genotypes (named AHS1, AHS2, JSS1, AHG1, and AHG2). The dominant genotypes in sheep and goats were BEB6 and CHG3, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all genotypes obtained in this study belonged to the so-called “cattle-specific” Group 2.


These findings show a relatively low occurrence and genetic diversity of E. bieneusi in sheep and goats in east-central China. Further studies are required to elucidate the role of sheep and goats in the epidemiology of microsporidia.

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We would like to thank all of the staff in the sampled sheep and goat farms for their assistance with this study. This study was supported by the Modern Cattle and Goat Industrial Technology System Program of Anhui Province, Anhui Provincial Natural Science Foundation (1808085MC84), the Key Program of Anhui Science and Technology University (No. ZRC2016478) and the Key Discipline Construction Program of University of Science and Technology of Anhui (AKZDXK2015A04).

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Correspondence to You-fang Gu.

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Li, W., Wang, K. & Gu, Y. Detection and Genotyping Study of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in Sheep and Goats in East-central China. Acta Parasit. 64, 44–50 (2019).

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  • Enterocytozoon bieneusi
  • Genotype
  • Sheep
  • Goat
  • China