Parasitology

Research Article

The diversity, distribution and host-parasite associations of trypanosomes in Western Australian wildlife

S. AVERISa1, R. C. A. THOMPSONa1, A. J. LYMBERYa1, A. F. WAYNEa2, K. D. MORRISa3 and A. SMITHa1 c1

a1 WHO Collaborating Centre for the Molecular Epidemiology of Parasitic Infections and the State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre, School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, South Street, Western Australia 6150, Australia

a2 Science Division, Department of Environment and Conservation, Manjimup, WA 6258, Australia

a3 Science Division, Department of Environment and Conservation, Wildlife Place, Woodvale WA 6026, Australia

SUMMARY

Little is known regarding the diversity, distribution or host-parasite associations of Trypanosoma spp. in Australian wildlife. Here we report on an investigation based on divergence of the 18S rRNA gene of trypanosomes isolated from a range of hosts and varied geographical locations. A total of 371 individuals representing 19 species of native animals from 14 different locations were screened. In total, 32 individuals from 9 different species tested positive for the parasite. Phylogenetic analysis revealed considerable parasite diversity with no clear geographical distribution and no evidence of host specificity. In general, it appears that Australian Trypanosoma spp. are widespread, with several genotypes appearing in multiple host species and in varied locations including both mainland areas and offshore islands. Some host species were found to be susceptible to multiple genotypes, but no individuals were infected with more than a single isolate.

(Received May 04 2009)

(Revised May 27 2009)

(Accepted June 15 2009)

(Online publication August 07 2009)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: WHO Collaborating Centre for the Molecular Epidemiology of Parasitic Infections and the State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre, School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, South Street, Western Australia 6150, Australia. Tel: 08 9965 0908. E-mail: andrew.smith@murdoch.edu.au

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