Molecular characterization of Echinococcus granulosus strains in Sardinia.

Parasitology research

PubMedID: 16323021

Varcasia A, Canu S, Lightowlers MW, Scala A, Garippa G. Molecular characterization of Echinococcus granulosus strains in Sardinia. Parasitol Res. 2006;98(3):273-7.
Investigations were undertaken to determine the genotypes of the parasite Echinococcus granulosus that were present in livestock animals on the island of Sardinia. Liver, lung, and spleen samples were obtained from 770 sheep, 229 cattle, and 277 pigs slaughtered in Sardinia between January 2003 and April 2005, and the number and fertility of hydatid cysts were determined. Protoscoleces and/or germinal layer were collected from individual cysts, DNA was extracted from 91 samples, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) methods were used for identification of the strain genotype for each sample (G1, G5, G6/G7). Fragments of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 and NADH dehydrogenase I were sequenced. Hydatid disease prevalence of 75.3, 41.5, and 9.4% were found in the organs collected from sheep, cattle, and pigs, respectively. Molecular analysis showed that 89 of 91 ovine, bovine, and swine cysts belonged to the G1 genotype (common sheep strain) of E. granulosus. Parasite isolates from two pigs were identified to belong to the G7 genotype (pig strain). Our results confirm the high prevalence of E. granulosus infection in livestock animals in Sardinia and reveal the presence of at least two parasite genotypes in Sardinia.