Species of Cryptosporidium and Giardia can infect humans and wildlife and have the potential to be transmitted between these 2 groups; yet, very little is known about these protozoans in marine wildlife. Feces of river otters (Lontra canadensis), a common marine wildlife species in the Puget Sound Georgia Basin, were examined for species of Cryptosporidium and Giardia to determine their role in the epidemiology of these pathogens. Using ZnSO4 flotation and immunomagnetic separation, followed by direct immunofluorescent antibody detection (IMS/DFA), we identified Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts in 9 fecal samples from 6 locations and Giardia sp. cysts in 11 fecal samples from 7 locations. The putative risk factors of proximate human population and degree of anthropogenic shoreline modification were not associated with the detection of Cryptosporidium or Giardia spp. in river otter feces. Amplification of DNA from the IMS/DFA slide scrapings was successful for 1 sample containing > 500 Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts. Sequences from the Cryptosporidium 18S rRNA and the COWP loci were most similar to the ferret Cryptosporidium sp. genotype. River otters could serve as reservoirs for Cryptosporidium and Giardia species in marine ecosystems. More work is needed to better understand the zoonotic potential of the genotypes they carry as well as their implications for river otter health.
To assess the possibility of standardization of a commonly used indirect immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) test for detection of Babesia microti antibody in human sera, the results from four reference laboratories were compared. Patients with babesiosis from southern New England (n = 25) and subjects with no history of babesiosis from southern New England (n = 55) and Iceland (n = 50) were enrolled in the study. Anti-Babesia antibody titers were determined in a blinded fashion by IFA test. The range of test results in the four laboratories was 88%-96% sensitivity, 90%-100% specificity, 69%-100% positive predictive value, and 96%-99% negative predictive value. Interlaboratory and intralaboratory concordance ranged from 84% to 85% and 94% to 100%, respectively. This B. microti IFA procedure is a sensitive, specific, and reproducible method for diagnosing babesiosis and is suitable for use as a standard in laboratories testing human sera for B. microti antibody.