Assessment of molecular methods as a tool for detecting pathogenic protozoa isolated from water bodies
Several species belong to the Cryptosporidium and Giardia genus, the main parasitic protozoa occurring in water, but only some of them are infectious to humans. We investigated the occurrence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia and identified their species in the water samples collected from natural water bodies in north-western Poland. A total of 600 samples from water bodies used for bathing, sewage discharge, as drinking water sources and watering places for animals were screened. The samples were collected during a 3-year period in each of the four seasons and filtered using Filta-Max (IDEXX Laboratories, USA). Genomic DNA was extracted from all samples and used as a target sequence for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and TaqMan real-time PCR, as well as for reverse line blotting (RLB) methods. PCR methods seem to be more sensitive to detect Giardia and Cryptosporidium DNA in water samples than RLB methods. All PCR products were sequenced and three were identified as C. parvum and four as G. intestinalis. The overall prevalence of C. parvum (0.5%) and G. intestinalis (0.6%) in the samples suggests that the risk of Cryptosporidium and Giardia infections in north-western Poland is minimal.
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