Cryptosporidium Infection in Dairy Cattle Calves and its Public Health Significance in Central Ethiopia
Cryptosporidium spp. are common intestinal protozoan parasites that causes diarrhoea in neonates and young calves. This longitudinal study was conducted at two large dairy cattle farms in central Ethiopia during February/2014 to June/2015 to determine the age-related distribution of Cryptosporidium species, to identify risk factors of the disease and to assess the public health significance of the parasite. Thirty calves born to these dairy farms were followed-up from birth to three months of age, and 270 faecal samples were collected and examined by the Modified Ziehl-Neelsen, PCR-RFLP and Sequencing. Cryptosporidium was detected from week 1 to 3 months of age with an overall prevalence of 14.8%, Peak of the infection was at two weeks of age when 12 of the 30 calves (40%) shedded oocysts. Cryptosporidium parvum and C. andersoni were identified in pre-weaned and post-weaned calves, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis showed clustering of the C. parvum isolates from this study with GenBank sequences for C. parvum bovine genotype IIa and IId subtypes. This study showed the predominance of the zoonotic C. parvum species in pre-weaned calves and demonstrated that this age group of calves pose the greatest risk for human infection. Due attention on the management of pre-weaned calves is recommended to prevent transmission of the infection to humans and lessen contamination of the environment by oocysts.
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