Fecal samples were collected from hunter-killed white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) during a managed hunt in a central Maryland county. Fecal samples were cleaned of debris and concentrated by CsCl density gradient centrifugation and stained with MerIFluor™ reagents. Stained samples were examined by fluorescent microscopy for the presence of Giardia sp. cysts. One of 26 samples was found to be positive for Giardia sp. Polymerase chain reaction amplification using primers directed to the β-giardin and TPI genes identified the same sample as the only positive one. Sequencing of the β-giardin and TPI genes revealed that the Giardia sp. belonged to assemblage A, a genotype infectious for humans and also reported in a small percentage of cattle. This is the first report of assemblage A Giardia sp. in deer and suggests that deer could be a potential source of infectious cysts for humans and cattle.
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