Horse: a potential source of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii in Egypt.

Mohammed, R., S. M. Nader, D. A. Hamza, and M. A. Sabry, "Horse: a potential source of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii in Egypt.", BMC veterinary research, vol. 18, issue 1, pp. 17, 2022.


BACKGROUND: Cryptococcosis is an opportunistic mycozoonosis of global significance in a wide variety of host species. In equines, cryptococcosis is uncommon, and sporadic cases have been reported with rhinitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, and meningitis. Cryptococcus spp. represents a potential risk for immunosuppressed and healthy persons. In Egypt, epidemiological data on cryptococcal infection in horses are limited. The current study was carried out to investigate the occurrence of Cryptococcus spp. in horses and its possible role in the epidemiology of such disease in Egypt. A total of 223 samples was collected from different localities in Egypt included 183 nasal swabs from horses, 28 nasal swabs from humans, and 12 soil samples. Bacteriological examination and the identification of Cryptococcus spp. were performed. Molecular serotyping of Cryptococcus spp. was determined by multiplex PCR using CNa-70S/A-CNb-49S/A. The virulence genes (LAC1, CAP59, and PLB1) of the identified isolates were detected by PCR. Moreover, sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of the C. gattii gene from horses, humans, and soil isolates found nearby were performed.

RESULT: The overall occurrence of Cryptococcus spp. in horses were 9.3, 25, and 10.7% in horses, the soil, and humans, respectively. Molecular serotyping of the Cryptococcus spp. isolates recovered from the nasal passages of horses proved that C. gattii (B), C. neoformans, and two hybrids between C. neoformans (A) and C. gattii (B) were identified. Meanwhile, in case of soil samples, the isolates were identified as C. gattii (B). The human isolates were serotyped as C. gattii in two isolates and C. neoformans in only one isolate. Molecular detection of some virulence genes (LAC1), (CAP59), and (PLB1) were identified in both C. gattii and C. neoformans isolates. The C. gattii gene amplicons of the isolates from horses, humans, and the soil were closely related.

CONCLUSION: This study provides the first insights into the Egyptian horse ecology of Cryptococcus species and highlights the role of horses as asymptomatic carriers in disseminating the potentially pathogenic Cryptococcus spp. It also presents the possible risk of cryptococcosis infection in humans.