Cryptosporidium is considered an emerging pathogen. Shedding of sporulated oocysts in infected hosts is responsible for environmental contamination and disease transmission. The susceptible host are infected by oocysts present in water or food. In humans, infection with Cryptosporidium hominis or Cryptosporidium parvum is more common. However, using molecular biology methods, the presence of several species and genotypes of domestic and wild animals has been related to humans. Therefore, there is a growing concern about the relationship of animals that act as reservoirs and are sources of infection of Cryptosporidium spp. to humans. Some anthropogenic areas, such as parks that have natural or artificial lakes houses a significant density and biomass of capybaras. In captive capybaras, some species of protozoa were found, such as Giardia sp., Cryptosporidium sp. and Eimeria sp., whereas the Cryptosporidium sp. infection was more pronounced. The only study concerning the molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium in free-living capybara reported the occurrence of C. parvum zoonotic subtype (IIaA15G2R1), commonly found in cattle. Thus, it is evident that capybaras represent a potential source of infection for humans. However, there is still no definition of prevalence and species and genotypes Cryptosporidium in capybaras from urban areas. Given the lack of studies on the occurrence and molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium species and genotypes that infect capybaras and the potential of these animals as reservoirs of a protozoan with a high zoonotic potential, the present project aims to determine the prevalence, perform the molecular characterization and quantify the seasonal oocyst shedding of Cryptosporidium spp. in capybaras from in urban areas.
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