Molecular prevalence of : influence of human settlement habitatTrypanosoma: influence of human settlement habitat spp. in wild rodents of Southeast Asia: influence of human settlement habitat

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This study investigated the molecular prevalence of Trypanosoma lewisi and T. evansi in wild rodents from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Thailand. Between 2008 and 2012, rodents (and shrews) were trapped in nine locations and 616 of these were tested using three sets of primers: TRYP1 (amplifying ITS1 of ribosomal DNA of all trypanosomes), TBR (amplifying satellite genomic DNA of Trypanozoon parasites) and LEW1 (amplifying ITS1 of ribosomal DNA of T. lewisi). Based on the size of the PCR products using TRYP1, 17% were positive for T. lewisi and 1·0% positive for Trypanozoon. Results were confirmed by sequencing PCR products and by using more specific primers (LEW1 and TBR). The specificity of TRYP1 primers, however, failed as rodent DNA was amplified in some instances, giving unexpected product sizes. Using LEW1 primers, 13·3% of the samples were confirmed positive for T. lewisi, both by PCR and sequencing. In Thailand, T. lewisi was found in Rattus tanezumi, R. exulans and Berylmys; in Lao PDR, in R. tanezumi and R. exulans, and in Cambodia in R. tanezumi, R. exulans and R. norvegicus. Using TBR, 1·3% of the samples tested positive for Trypanozoon by PCR and sequencing; T. evansi is the only species of the Trypanozoon subgenus possibly present in wild Asian rodents. These results confirmed its presence in rodents from Thailand (R. tanezumi), Lao PDR (R. tanezumi, R. nitidus) and Cambodia (R. tanezumi, Niviventer fulvescens, Maxomys surifer). Based on the information related to rodent trapping, it was found that rodent species trapped in and around human dwellings had a higher prevalence of T. lewisi infection. R. tanezumi and R. exulans, two synanthropic species, were mainly found infected in this habitat suggesting a role as a reservoir and thus a potential source of T. lewisi for human infection.

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