Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. in pre-weaned calves in Shaanxi Province, north-western China

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Abstract

Cryptosporidium, a worldwide protozoan parasite, is one of the most common causes of diarrhoea in humans and animals. The aim of the present study was to determine Cryptosporidium species/genotypes in pre-weaned calves in Shaanxi Province using PCR and sequencing based on the small subunit rRNA gene. A total of 258 faecal samples were collected from pre-weaned calves in 19 different farms from six areas in Shaanxi Province, north-western China. Cryptosporidium infection was detected in 14 of 19 farms (73.7 %), with a total prevalence of 20.2 % (52/258). Both dairy and Qinchuan (beef) cattle were found with Cryptosporidium infection. Three Cryptosporidium species, namely Cryptosporidium bovis (n=26), Cryptosporidium andersoni (n=14) and Cryptosporidium ryanae (n=12), were detected in pre-weaned calves in Shaanxi Province, with C. bovis (in 12 farms) identified as the most common species on cattle farms. Two additional and previously unknown C. ryanae genotypes, CRTypes III and IV, were observed in the present study. However, the zoonotic species, Cryptosporidium parvum, was not detected in this study, which suggested a low zoonotic potential in Cryptosporidium-infected pre-weaned calves in this province.

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