Giardiasis is a communicable gastrointestinal disease caused by Giardia duodenalis and two genetic assemblages, A and B, cause human infection. In remote Indigenous communities of Australia, giardiasis is highly prevalent among children but disease transmission is poorly understood. This study investigated the prevalence of Giardia and genetic subtypes contributing to human disease in a remote Indigenous community, in the Northern Territory of Australia. Eighty-seven faecal samples were collected from 74 children (<15 years) over an 18 month period, and the distribution of positive cases relative to participant age and gender were examined. Screening by microscopy and 18S rRNA PCR amplification showed 66.7% (58/87) of faecal samples were positive for Giardia. Both males and females were equally affected and high detection rates were obtained for participants aged 0-<5 years and 5-<10 years (66.0 and 60.0% respectively). For 58.6% of the positive samples, Giardia was only detected by 18S rRNA PCR. Approximately 75% of cases were assemblage B, and subassemblage analyses using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism of the glutamate dehydrogenase gene demonstrated that a variety of genetic variants were present. The high proportion of positive cases that were not detectable by microscopy, and dominance of assemblage B cases highlights the need for further research in this community, to assess the contribution of Giardia to chronic gastrointestinal disease among children, and to understand conditions conductive to assemblage B transmission.
Asher, A., Holt, D., Andrews, R., & Power, M. (2014). Distribution of Giardia duodenalis Assemblages A and B among Children Living in a Remote Indigenous Community of the Northern Territory, Australia. PLoS One, 9(11), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112058