Detection of Zoonotic Intestinal Parasites in Public Parks of Spain. Potential Epidemiological Role of Microsporidia


Dr. G. Miró Corrales. Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Avda. Puerta de Hierro s/n, Madrid 28040, Spain. Tel.: +003 4913 943 711; Fax: +003 4913 943 908; E-mail:


Several studies have demonstrated that the soil of public parks presents an important source of infection which has a significant impact on public health. Children are the main group affected by accidentally ingestion of contaminated soil. This study was performed in order to identify the presence of zoonotic parasites in dog and cat faecal and soil samples from public parks of Madrid, Spain. Six hundred twenty-five and seventy-nine soil and faecal samples (presumably from dogs and cats) respectively were collected from 67 parks. Intestinal parasites were identified in 27 parks (40.3%), which were contamined with Giardia sp. (19.4%), microsporidia (19.4%), Toxocara spp. (16.4%), Cryptosporidium sp. (6%), Entamoeba histolytica (3%) and Ancylostomidae (3%). Combinations of two or more intestinal parasites were found in 11 parks, and it was common to find Giardia and microsporidia together in samples. Intestinal parasites were detected in 18% (112/625) of soil samples. The most frequent parasite species found in the examined soil samples were Toxocara spp. (16.4%), followed by Giardia sp. (4.5%) and Strongyloides sp. larvae (3%). The zoonotic parasites found in the 79 faecal samples were Giardia sp. (17.7%), Cryptosporidium sp. (9%), E. histolytica (2.5%), Trichuris vulpis (1.3%), Toxascaris leonina (1.3%) and microsporidia spores (28%). Microsporidia characterization by amplification of DNA confirmed 10 samples as positive, eight for E. bieneusi and two for E. hellem by PCR. The role of those parasites in the environment are discussed.