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Development of a sensitive method to extract and detect low numbers of Cryptosporidium oocysts from adult cattle faecal samples

Wells, B., Thomson, S., Ensor, H., Innes, E.A., Katzer, F.
Veterinary parasitology 2016 v.227 pp. 26-29
Cryptosporidium, adults, calves, cryptosporidiosis, detection limit, farms, feces, oocysts
Cryptosporidium transmission studies to date have concluded that adult cattle are not a significant source of oocysts contributing to clinical cryptosporidiosis in calves on farm. However current methods of sample processing have been optimised for calf faecal samples and may be less sensitive when used on adult samples due to lower numbers of oocysts and larger size of samples. A modified and novel method of oocyst extraction and concentration was developed and applied in an experiment involving spiking adult cattle faecal samples with known concentrations of Cryptosporidium oocysts. The results showed an increased sensitivity of detection from 100oocysts/g of faecal sample using conventional protocols to 5oocysts/g using the newly developed method. As it is important to be able to accurately assess the contribution of adult ruminants to the transmission of Cryptosporidium, both on farm and in the environment, the development of the techniques described here is likely to make an important contribution to Cryptosporidium transmission studies in future and in subsequent control strategies aimed at the reduction of Cryptosporidium infection in calves on farm.