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Diversity of Cryptosporidium in common voles and description of Cryptosporidium alticolis sp. n. and Cryptosporidium microti sp. n. (Apicomplexa: Cryptosporidiidae)

  • Michaela Horčičková (a1) (a2), Šárka Čondlová (a1) (a2), Nikola Holubová (a1) (a2), Bohumil Sak (a2), Dana Květoňová (a2), Lenka Hlásková (a2), Roman Konečný (a1), František Sedláček (a3), Mark Clark (a4), Catherine Giddings (a5), John McEvoy (a5) and Martin Kváč (a1) (a2)...


Fecal samples from wild-caught common voles (n = 328) from 16 locations in the Czech Republic were screened for Cryptosporidium by microscopy and PCR/sequencing at loci coding small-subunit rRNA, Cryptosporidium oocyst wall protein, actin and 70 kDa heat shock protein. Cryptosporidium infections were detected in 74 voles (22.6%). Rates of infection did not differ between males and females nor between juveniles and adults. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of eight Cryptosporidium species/genotypes including two new species, C. alticolis and C. microti. These species from wild-caught common voles were able to infect common and meadow voles under experimental conditions, with a prepatent period of 3–5 days post-infection (DPI), but they were not infectious for various other rodents or chickens. Meadow voles lost infection earlier than common voles (11–14 vs 13–16 DPI) and had significantly lower infection intensity. Cryptosporidium alticolis infects the anterior small intestine and has larger oocysts (5.4 × 4.9 µm), whereas C. microti infects the large intestine and has smaller oocysts (4.3 × 4.1 µm). None of the rodents developed clinical signs of infection. Genetic and biological data support the establishment of C. alticolis and C. microti as separate species of the genus Cryptosporidium.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: M. Kváč, E-mail:


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