Human enteropathogenic microsporidia (HEM), Cryptosporidium parvum, Cyclospora cayetanesis, and Giardia lamblia are associated with gastrointestinal disease in humans. To date, the mode of transmission and environmental occurrence of HEM (Encephalitozoon intestinalis and Enterocytozoon bieneusi) and Cyclospora cayetanesis have not been fully elucidated due to lack of sensitive and specific environmental screening methods. The present study was undertaken with recently developed methods, to screen various water sources used for public consumption in rural areas around the city of Guatemala. Water concentrates collected in these areas were subjected to community DNA extraction followed by PCR amplification, PCR sequencing and computer database homology comparison (CDHC). All water samples screened in this study had been previously confirmed positive for Giardia spp. by immunofluorescent assay (IFA). Of the 12 water concentrates screened, 6 showed amplification of microsporidial SSU-rDNA and were subsequently confirmed to be Encephalitozoon intestinalis. Five of the samples allowed for amplification of Cyclospora 18S-rDNA; three of these were confirmed to be Cyclospora cayetanesis while two could not be identified because of inadequate sequence information. Thus, this study represents the first confirmed identification of Cyclospora cayetanesis and Encephalitozoon intestinalis in source water used for consumption. The fact that the waters tested may be used for human consumption indicates that these emerging protozoa may be transmitted by ingestion of contaminated water.

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