Despite numerous molecular epidemiologic studies of cryptosporidiosis in dairy cattle in industrialized countries, there are very few studies on the diversity and public health significance of Cryptosporidium species in native cattle in developing countries. In this study, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the small-subunit (SSU) rRNA gene was used to detect and identify Cryptosporidium spp. in 194 fecal specimens from 2 to 365 days old calves in 20 White Fulani and Sokoto Gudali herds in Nigeria. Thirty one (16.0%) of the specimens were positive for Cryptosporidium. Restriction digestion of the PCR products showed the presence of Cryptosporidium bovis (7.2%), Cryptosporidium ryanae (4.1%), Cryptosporidium andersoni (2.5%), and concurrent occurrence of C. bovis and C. ryanae (1.5%), and C. bovis and C. andersoni (0.5%). There were no significant differences (p> 0.05) in Cryptosporidium infection rates by sex, herd location, management system, breed of calves, or fecal consistency. However, calves 180 days or younger had a higher infection rate of Cryptosporidium than older calves (p = 0.034). Likewise, younger calves also had higher occurrence of C. bovis and C. ryanae (p = 0.022). The absence of zoonotic Cryptosporidium parvum in the calves studied suggests that native breeds of cattle may not be important in the transmission of human cryptosporidiosis in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
- Molecular epidemiology
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