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- Microsporidia are fungi and endoparasites related to Cryptomycota. They are obligate intracellular organisms that spread via spores. Microsporidia behave as protozoa; they possess a defining characteristic called a "polar tube" that coils around the sporoplasm inside of the spore and during germination, the polar tube everts to bring the sporoplasm into contact with the host cell.
- Most commonly identified with human disease:
- Enterocytozoon bieneusi and Encephalitozoon intestinalis (syn. Septata intestinalis) are etiology of majority of infections.
- Encephalitozoon hellem, E. cuniculi
- Vittaforma corneae
- Nosema ocularum
- Trachipleistophora hominis, T. anthropothera
- Anncaliia algerae, A. connori, A. vesicularum
- Pleistophora spp
- Microsporidium spp
- Sources of infection and modes of transmission, likely zoonotic with pigs, cattle, donkeys, birds, and mosquitoes as reservoirs, and/or waterborne.
- Spores are quite resistant to environmental conditions and can persist in environment for years, particularly if protected from desiccation.