Main content area

A longitudinal study of cryptosporidiosis in dairy cattle from birth to 2 years of age

Santín, Mónica, Trout, James M., Fayer, Ronald
Veterinary parasitology 2008 v.155 no.1-2 pp. 15
dairy cattle, calves, dairy cows, Cryptosporidium, animal pathogens, cryptosporidiosis, animal age, temporal variation, neonates, adult animals, polymerase chain reaction, feces, ribosomal DNA, fluorescent antibody technique, nucleotide sequences, disease prevalence, pathogen identification, Cryptosporidium parvum, Cryptosporidium bovis, Cryptosporidium andersoni, genotype, Maryland
Fecal specimens were collected from 30 calves from birth to 24 months of age at a dairy farm in Maryland to determine the prevalence and age distribution of Cryptosporidium species/genotypes. After centrifugation to remove debris and concentrate oocysts, specimens were examined by immunofluorescence microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Fragments of the SSU-rDNA gene amplified by PCR were purified and PCR products were sequenced. All 30 calves shed Cryptosporidium oocysts at some time during the 24 months of the study. Of 990 specimens, 190 were Cryptosporidium-positive (19.2%). The highest prevalence of infection was at 2 weeks of age when 29 of the 30 calves were excreting oocysts. Prevalence was higher in pre-weaned calves (1-8 weeks of age) (45.8%) than in post-weaned calves (3-12 months of age) (18.5%) and heifers (12-24 months of age) (2.2%). Sequence data for 190 PCR-positive specimens identified: C. parvum, C. bovis, the Cryptosporidium deer-like genotype and C. andersoni, with cumulative prevalences of 100, 80, 60, and 3.3%, respectively. C. parvum constituted 97% of infections in pre-weaned calves but only 4% and 0% of infections in post-weaned calves and heifers, respectively. All C. parvum GP60 nucleotide sequences were subtype IIaA15G2R1.