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Protozoan pathogens

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Based on:
Ecker DJ, Sampath R, Willett P, Wyatt JR, Samant V, Massire C, Hall TA, Hari K, McNeil JA, Büchen-Osmond C, Budowle B. The Microbial Rosetta Stone Database: A compilation of global and emerging infectious microorganisms and bioterrorist threat agents BMC Microbiol. 2005; 5: 19.

 

 

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Euglenozoa

cellular organisms - Eukaryota - Euglenozoa -

Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Kinetoplastida - Trypanosomatidae - Trypanosoma - Schizotrypanum - Trypanosoma cruzi
Most important vectors are blood-sucking bugs from the family Reduviidae, subfamily Triatominae (kissing bugs). Triatominae, kissing bugs, vectors of Chagas disease at MetaPathogen Zoonotic Agent; Globally Important Human Pathogen Causes Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis). Acute infections are usually asymptomatic, but the ensuing chronic infections have been associated with high ratios of morbidity and mortality: heart disease leads to unexpected death in 37.5% of patients, 58% develop heart failure and die and megacolon or megaoesophagus has been associated with death in 4.5%. The pathogenesis appears to be related to a parasite-induced mutation of the vertebrate genome. Trypanosoma cruzi, causative agent of Chagas disease: facts, life cycle, structures, references at MetaPathogen
Kinetoplastida - Trypanosomatidae - Trypanosoma - Trypanozoon - Trypanosoma brucei -
Trypanosoma brucei gambiense
Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense
Transmitted between mammalian hosts by the tsetse fly,Glossina spp, in which it initially establishes in the midgut after a bloodmeal but then migrates to the salivary glands in preparation for transmission to a new mammalian host. Zoonotic Agent; Medically Important Human Pathogen. The Gambian form is currently a major public health problem over vast areas of central and western Africa, while the zoonotic, Rhodesian form continues to present a serious health risk in eastern and southern Africa. Causes African sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis). There is an early or hemolymphatic stage and a late or encephalitic stage, when the parasites cross the blood-brain barrier to invade the central nervous system. The pathology of late-stage sleeping sickness, in which the central nervous system is involved, is complicated and is associated with disturbances in the circadian rhythm of sleep. The two parasites cause distinct clinical manifestations, and there are significant differences in the epidemiology of the diseases caused. Fèvre EM et al. (Adv Parasitol. 2006);
 
Enanga B et al. (Cell Mol Life Sci. 2002);
 
Matthews KR. (J Cell Sci. 2005);
 
"sleeping sickness"[title] ;
 
"Trypanosoma brucei"[title]
Kinetoplastida - Trypanosomatidae - Leishmania - Viannia - Leishmania braziliensis species complex -
Leishmania braziliensis
Transmitted by blood-feeding sand flies Lutzomyia (Diptera: Phlebotominae) that inoculate host with infectious stage of Leishmania spp. in their saliva. Zoonotic Agent; Globally Important Human Pathogen It causes cutaneous (single or multiple localized lesions on exposed areas of skin), diffuse cutaneous (massive dissemination of skin lesions without visceral involvement), and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis (chronic, progressive spread of lesions to the nasal, pharyngeal, and buccal mucosa some time after the appearance of the initial cutaneous lesion) depending on the subspecies. Dantas-Torres F. (Vet Parasitol. 2007);
 
Amato VS et al. (Acta Trop. 2008);
 
"Leishmania braziliensis"[Majr]
Kinetoplastida - Trypanosomatidae - Leishmania - Leishmania - Leishmania donovani species complex - Leishmania infantum
Transmitted by blood-feeding sand flies Lutzomyia (Diptera: Phlebotominae) that inoculate host with infectious stage of Leishmania spp. in their saliva. Zoonotic Agent; Globally Important Human Pathogen Causes visceral leishmaniasis (characterized by fever, chills, vomiting, anemia, hepatosplenomegaly, leukopenia, hypergammaglobulinemia, emaciation, and an earth-gray color of the skin). Human infections are confined almost entirely to children. This parasite is commonly seen in dogs, other Canidae, and porcupines with humans considered only an accidental host. Alvar J et al. (Adv Parasitol. 2004);
 
"Leishmania infantum"[Majr]
Kinetoplastida - Trypanosomatidae - Leishmania - Leishmania - Leishmania mexicana species complex - Leishmania mexicana
Transmitted by blood-feeding sand flies Lutzomyia (Diptera: Phlebotominae) that inoculate host with infectious stage of Leishmania spp. in their saliva. Zoonotic Agent; Medically Important Human Pathogen Infects man and animals including rodents. Causes both cutaneous (single or multiple localized lesions on exposed areas of skin) and diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis (massive dissemination of skin lesions without visceral involvement). "Leishmania mexicana"[Majr]
Kinetoplastida - Trypanosomatidae - Leishmania - Leishmania - Leishmania major species complex - Leishmania major
Transmitted by blood-feeding sand flies (Diptera: Phlebotominae) that inoculate host with infectious stage of Leishmania spp. in their saliva. Zoonotic Agent; Globally Important Human Pathogen Infects man and animals and causes cutaneous leishmaniasis (single or multiple localized lesions on exposed areas of skin) of the Old World. "Leishmania major"[Majr]
Kinetoplastida - Trypanosomatidae - Leishmania - Leishmania - Leishmania tropica species complex - Leishmania tropica
Transmitted by blood-feeding sand flies (Diptera: Phlebotominae) that inoculate host with infectious stage of Leishmania spp. in their saliva. Zoonotic Agent; Globally Important Human Pathogen Infects man and rodents. This taxonomic complex includes species which cause a disease called Oriental sore which is a form of cutaneous leishmaniasis (single or multiple localized lesions on exposed areas of skin) of the Old World. Jacobson RL. (Folia Parasitol (Praha). 2003);
 
"Leishmania tropica"[Majr]
Kinetoplastida - Trypanosomatidae - Leishmania - Leishmania - Leishmania donovani species complex - Leishmania donovani
Transmitted by blood-feeding sand flies (Diptera: Phlebotominae) that inoculate host with infectious stage of Leishmania spp. in their saliva. Zoonotic Agent; Globally Important Human Pathogen Infects man and animals and causes visceral leishmaniasis (characterized by fever, chills, vomiting, anemia, hepatosplenomegaly, leukopenia, hypergammaglobulinemia, emaciation, and an earth-gray color of the skin). "Leishmania donovani"[Majr]
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Heterolobosea

cellular organisms - Eukaryota - Heterolobosea -

Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Schizopyrenida - Vahlkampfiidae - Naegleria - Naegleria fowleri
Free-living ameboflagellate found in warm bodies of water such as ponds, irrigation ditches, lakes, coastal waters, and hot springs. Humans come into contact with N. fowleri by swimming or bathing, particularly in surface waters. Emergent Infectious Agent; Medically Important Human Pathogen Causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a very rare but deadly infection of the central nervous system. Symptoms include fever, headache, impaired consciousness, and stiff neck. Infection with this organism closely mimics and is often mistaken for a bacterial or a viral pyogenic meningitis. Recovery is rare. Blair B et al. (Emerg Infect Dis. 2008);
 
Wiwanitkit V. (MedGenMed. 2004);
 
"Naegleria fowleri"[title]
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Diplomonadida

cellular organisms - Eukaryota - Fornicata - Diplomonadida -

Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Hexamitidae - Giardiinae - Giardia - Giardia intestinalis
(Synonyms: G. lamblia, G. duodenalis)
Although water remains the most common mode of transmission of Giardia, there has been an increase in the number of person-to-person cases, especially related to children in day care, as well as an increase in food-borne cases. The microorganism attaches itself to the intestinal mucosa and feeds on mucous secretions. Emergent Infectious Agent; Globally Important Human Pathogen; Principal Foodborne Pathogen; CDC Notifiable Agent; Potential Biological Weapon; NIAID Category B Priority Pathogen Causes giardiasis. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, acute or chronic diarrhoea, with malabsorption. Although considered to be an easily treated infection, prolonged symptoms due to, or following, infection can have a significant impact on quality of life because of recurrence of abdominal pain and fatigue. Escobedo AA et al. (Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2007);
 
"Giardiasis"[title];
 
"Giardia lamblia"[title]
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Amoebozoa

cellular organisms - Eukaryota - Amoebozoa -

Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Centramoebida - Acanthamoebidae - Acanthamoeba - Acanthamoeba castellanii
Free-living soil amoebae. Can contaminate hands and adhere to corneal epithelial cells upon scratching the eyes with dirty hands. The microorganisms can reach brain with blood flow and adhere to brain microvascular endothelial cells, which constitute the blood-brain barrier, and cause ecephalitis. Emergent Infectious Agent; Medically Important Human Pathogen Can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) in humans. Sissons J et al. (Infect Immun. 2005);
 
Koehsler M et al. (FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009);
 
"Acanthamoeba castellanii"[Majr]
Centramoebida - Balamuthiidae - Balamuthia - Balamuthia mandrillaris
Free-living amoebae. Disease results from haematogenous spread, but it is unclear how circulating amoebae enter the central nervous system and cause inflammation, blood-brain barrier disruption and neuronal injury. Emergent Infectious Agent; Medically Important Human Pathogen Causes serious cutaneous infections as well as granulomatous amoebic encephalitis involving the central nervous system, with fatality rate of >98%. Shadrach WS et al. (Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005);
 
Matin A et al. (Clin Microbiol Rev. 2008);
 
"Balamuthia"[title]
Archamoebae - Entamoebidae - Entamoeba - Entamoeba histolytica
Transmission occurs by the fecal-oral route via contaminated food or water. NIAID Category B Priority Pathogen; Globally Important Human Pathogen Invades the intestine (provoking diarrhea and dysentery) and the liver, where it forms abscesses (amoebic liver abscesses [ALAs]). Baxt LA, Singh U. (Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2008);
 
Santi-Rocca J et al. (Clin Microbiol Rev. 2009);
 
"Entamoeba histolytica"[Majr]
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Blastocystis

cellular organisms - Eukaryota - stramenopiles - Blastocystis -

Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Blastocystis hominis
Found in the intestines of humans and other primates. The form used for transmission has not been defined. Waterborne transmission have been suggested. It generally is assumed that B. hominis is transmitted by the fecal-oral route. Emergent Infectious Agent; Medically Important Human Pathogen Infections with the organism are worldwide and appear in both immunocompetent and immunodeficient individuals. Causes intestinal disease; symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps, and nausea. Stenzel DJ, Boreham PF. (Clin Microbiol Rev. 1996);
 
"Blastocystis hominis"[Majr]
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Apicomplexa

cellular organisms - Eukaryota - Alveolata - Apicomplexa -

Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Aconoidasida - Piroplasmida - Babesiidae - Babesia - Babesia microti
Tick-borne, specific intermediate tick vector is Ixodes scapularis. The animal hosts, the mouse Peromyscus leucopus and meadow vole Microtus pennsylvanicus serve as reservoir for the pathogen. Babesiosis is endemic in the northeastern and upper midwestern regions of the United States and is found sporadically in other parts of the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Zoonotic Agent; Emergent Infectious Agent; Medically Important Human Pathogen Causes babesiosis, intraerythrocytic infection that ranges from asymptomatic to severe and occasionally fatal. Usually, patients experience a flulike illness that usually lasts for 1 or 2 weeks. Those at greatest risk of fatal disease include individuals older than age 50 years; asplenic and immunocompromised individuals as a result of immunosuppressive drugs, malignancy, or HIV infection. Vannier E, Krause PJ. (Interdiscip Perspect Infect Dis. 2009);
 
"Babesiosis"[title];
 
"Babesia microti"[Majr]
Coccidia - Eucoccidiorida - Eimeriorina - Cryptosporidiidae - Cryptosporidium - Cryptosporidium parvum
Calves are believed to be the major reservoir for C. parvum infections in humans. Zoonotic Agent; Emergent Infectious Agent; Globally Important Human Pathogen; Principal Foodborne Pathogen; NIAID Category B Priority Pathogen; CDC Notifiable Agent Causes watery diarrhea in humans and animals throughout the world, and is associated with a substantial degree of morbidity and mortality in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Fayer R. (Vet Parasitol. 2004);
 
Deng M et al. (Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2004);
 
"Cryptosporidium parvum"[Majr]
Coccidia - Eucoccidiorida - Eimeriorina - Eimeriidae - Cyclospora - Cyclospora cayetanensis
Transmitted by oocysts from person-to-person by the fecal-oral route or via contaminated water or food. Globally Important Human Pathogen; Principal Foodborne Pathogen; NIAID Category B Priority Pathogen; CDC Notifiable Agent Usually causes self-limiting diarrhea in healthy individuals, asymptomatic infections occur. However, patients with immune dysfunction can have severe intestinal injury and prolonged diarrhea. Shields JM, Olson BH. (Int J Parasitol. 2003);
 
Mansfield LS, Gajadhar AA. (Vet Parasitol. 2004);
 
"Cyclospora"[Majr]
Aconoidasida - Haemosporida - Plasmodium -
Plasmodium falciparum
Plasmodium vivax
Plasmodium ovale
Plasmodium malariae
Transmitted by the bite of an infected female mosquito of the genus Anopheles. Zoonotic Agent; Emergent Infectious Agent; Globally Important Human Pathogen; NIAID Category B Priority Pathogen; CDC Notifiable Agent Causes malaria. Malaria is endemic in parts of Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Oceania, and certain Caribbean islands. It is characterized by extreme exhaustion associated with paroxysms of high fever, sweating, shaking chills, and anemia. Malaria in animals is caused by other species of plasmodia. "Plasmodium"[Majr] AND ("loattrfree full text"[sb]);
 
"Plasmodium falciparum"[Majr] AND ("loattrfree full text"[sb] AND Review[ptyp]);
 
"Plasmodium falciparum"[Majr]
Coccidia - Eucoccidiorida - Eimeriorina - Sarcocystidae - Toxoplasma - Toxoplasma gondii
Transmitted (1)from mother to fetus during pregnancy; (2)inhaling oocysts (from litter boxes of domestic cats, from soil); (3)contamination of hands with feline feces; (4)ingestion of toxoplasma cysts contained in contaminated undercooked meat. Zoonotic Agent; Principal Foodborne Pathogen; Medically Important Human Pathogen; NIAID Category B Priority Pathogen Causes toxoplasmosis, a potentially fatal disease of the developing human fetus and immunocompromised (e.g., AIDS and transplant) patients and can cause severe ocular disease in healthy individuals. Most infections remain asymptomatic, however, toxoplasmosis is linked with development of psychosis, depression, and anxiety disorders, reckless behavior and impulsivity in youth. Toxoplasma gondii, causative agent of toxoplasmosis: facts, infection pathways, life cycle, bibliography at MetaPathogen
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