Cryptosporidium parvum and Cyclospora cayetanensis are protozoan pathogens that cause prolonged diarrhea in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts. Cryptosporidium parvum can be transmitted via the fecal-oral route, while the exact mechanisms of transmission of Cyclospora cayetanensis have not been fully determined. Humans appear to be the sole host for the latter and a distinct seasonality has been observed in endemic areas around the world. Samples of vegetables were collected at several small markets in a periurban slum in Peru during the seasons of high and low incidence. The vegetables were washed, the supernatants were collected and centrifuged, and the pellets were resuspended in a solution of 2.5% potassium dichromate. Pellets were examined using direct microscopic observation, acid- fast staining, and immunofluorescent assays for C. parvum and Cyclospora cayetanensis oocysts. Samples were collected during three time periods: the season of low incidence, the beginning of the season of high incidence, and end of the season of high incidence. Of the total vegetables examined, 14.5% contained C. parvum oocysts and 1.8% had Cyclospora oocysts. Thus, market vegetables may provide a route by which Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora can be transmitted. Our study also suggests that washing vegetables does not completely remove Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora oocysts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases