Oocysts of Cryptosporidium, from the feces of a naturally infected dog and from an HIV-infected human, were identified as the previously reported canine genotype of Cryptosporidium parvum, hereafter referred to as Cryptosporidium canis n. sp. Also among the oocysts from the dog, a trace amount of C. parvum bovine genotype was detected. Cryptosporidium canis oocysts from both the dog and human were infectious for calves. Oocysts excreted by calf 1 (dog source) were approximately 90% C. canis and 10% C. parvum, whereas those excreted by calf 3 (human source) were 100% C. canis. Oocysts from calf 1 infected calf 2 resulting in excretion by calf 2 of oocysts ∼90% C. parvum and 10% C. canis. Oocysts of C. canis were not infectious for BALB/c neonatal mice or immunosuppressed C57 juvenile mice, although all control mice became infected with the C. parvum Beltsville isolate. Oocysts of C. canis from calf 1 and the human were structurally indistinguishable from oocysts of the C. parvum Beltsville isolate (bovine). However, C. canis oocysts differed markedly at the molecular level from all known species of Cryptosporidium based on sequence data for the 18S rDNA and the HSP 70 gene. The differences in genetics and host specificity clearly differentiate C. canis as a new species.
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