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Prevalence of Cryptosporidial Infection in Kids of Sikar, Rajasthan

M. Shahnawaz* S. A. Bhat S. N. Shah B. A. Ganayi
Vol 2(1), 179-183

Cryptosporidium spp. infection was recorded in kids of Sikar district of Rajasthan with an overall prevalence of 38.22%. The infection was higher in diarrhoeic (43.47%) than non-diarrhoeic ones (30.26%). Also the infection rate was higher in kids in the age group of one day to <1 month (55.48%) as compared to 26.43% in the elder age group (>1 to 6 months). Seasonal prevalence was higher in post-monsoon (52.46%), followed by 40.45, 27.64 and 25% in winter, monsoon and pre-monsoon respectively. Association between Cryptosporidial infection and diarrhoea was more prevalent in kids of 1 day to <1 month of age (66.27%) than kids of > 1 month of age group (29.86%).

Keywords : Cryptosporidium kids rajasthan


Infectious diarrhoea in neonatal animals is one of the most common and economically devastating conditions encountered in the animal husbandry. Cryptosporidium parvum is a protozoan parasite which in particular causes severe diarrhoea in neonatal ruminants and is a primary aetiological agent of neonatal diarrhoea syndrome. The most prominent clinical sign of cryptosporidiosis is diarrhoea lasting 2 to 12 days and this is sometimes accompanied by apathy, depression, anorexia, abdominal pain, reduced milk intake, growth retardation, stiffness, hyperpnoea and slow gait. In outbreaks of diarrhoea, morbidity and mortality can be very high in goat kids less than 2 weeks old. Mortality increases when the disease is associated with concurrent infections. Cryptosporidiosis is of great importance because it causes high morbidity and mortality in animals. In addition to its economic importance, infection due to C. parvum also constitutes a major public health issue. Human infections have been associated with exposure to infected animals (De Graaf et al., 1999). Cryptosporidium oocysts spread to animals through contaminated feed and water, with the faeces of clinically ill animals and latently infected animals serving as reservoirs of infection. Cryptosporidiosis is usually diagnosed by microscopic examination of sporulated oocysts in faeces. The oocysts are bright and much smaller than coccidia and helminth eggs. Special stains are needed for C. parvum oocysts so that the protozoa can be distinguished from yeasts. The most widely used have been the modified acid-fast procedures, which differentiate red-stained oocysts from similarly sized and shaped green-stained yeast forms. Keeping in view the economic importance and public health significance of cryptosporidiosis, the present study was undertaken to determine prevalence of the infection in kids of Sikar district of Rajasthan.

Materials and Methods

This study was conducted from June 2010 to May 2011 in which a total 380 faecal samples were collected from kids in the age group of 1 day to < 6 months, reared by the local people of Sikar district of Rajasthan. Faecal samples were directly collected from the rectum in sterile plastic bottles and based on their consistency were scored as diarrhoeic and non diarrhoeic. For the detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts, thin faecal smears were prepared on glass slides and oocysts were detected microscopically using a Modified Ziehl Neelsen (MZN) staining method. The faecal smears were dried at room temperature and fixed in methanol for 2 minutes and then flooded with basic fuchsin solution for 5 minutes and rinsed in 50% ethanol. Then the slides were decolourised in 1% sulphuric acid for 2 minutes. Following washing, the slides were pooled in methylene blue solution for 1 minute, washed and air dried and examined under a 100 X objective. The intensity of infection was assessed semi-quantitatively by counting the numbers of oocysts in 20 randomly selected microscope fields under the immersion objective. The scores were categorised as negative (no oocysts), slight (1-5 oocysts), moderate (6-10 oocysts) and severe (>10 oocysts). The results were analyzed by Chi-square Test (Snedecor and Cochran, 1994).

Results and Discussion

Cryptosporidiosis is a common disease among neonatal ruminants and C. parvum has been recognised as a cause of outbreaks of diarrhoea in goat kids in several countries (Johnson et al., 1999). In the present study an overall prevalence of 38.22 per cent of cryptosporidiosis in kids of one day to <6 months of age was found. Prevalence was significantly higher in kids between one day to 1 month age group (55.48%) than those in the age group of 1 to <6 months (26.43%) (Table1). Prevalence of 23 to 100% has been reported in lambs from different countries (Tzipori, 1998; Causape et al., 2002; Alonso-Fresan et al., 2005). Higher prevalence of cryptosporidiosis in younger calves has been reported earlier (Xiao and Herd, 1994).

Table: 1 Age-wise prevalence of cryptosporidiosis in kids.

Age (months) No. of animals examined Oocyst
Positive Negative
<1 155 86 (55.48) 69 (44.51)
>1 227 60 (26.43) 167 (73.56)
Total 382 146 (38.22) 236 (61.78)

Figures within parentheses indicate percentage.

The infection rate was significantly higher in diarrhoeic (43.47%) kids as compared to 30.26% in non diarrhoeic ones (Table 2).

Table: 2 Prevalence of cryptosporidiosis in diarrhoeic and non diarrhoeic kids.

Age (months) No. of animals examined Oocyst
Positive Negative
Diarrhoeic 230 100 (43.47) 130 (56.52)
Non diarrhoeic 152 46 (30.26) 106 (69.73)
Total 382 146 (38.22) 236 (61.78)

Figures within parentheses indicate percentage.

A statistical correlation was found between excretion of oocysts and diarrhoea in kids of one day to <1 month age group and the probability of presenting diarrhoea was significantly higher in kids shedding oocysts (66.27%) than in those not excreting the parasite (33.72%) (Table 3).

Table: 3 Age-wise relationships between cryptosporidiosis and diarrhoea in kids.

Age (months) No. of animals examined Oocyst
Positive Negative
<1 86 57 (66.27) 29 (33.72)
>1 144 43 (29.86) 101 (70.13)
Total 230 100 (43.42) 130 (56.52)

Figures within parentheses indicate percentage.

The clinical signs exhibited by the infected kids were anorexia, dehydration, general apathy with watery faeces. Similar clinical signs have been reported earlier (De Graff et al., 1999).

The prevalence of cryptosporidiosis showed seasonal variation with highest prevalence rate of 52.46% in post-monsoon followed by 40.45%, 27.64% and 25% in winter, monsoon and pre-monsoon respectively (Table 4).

Table: 4 Season-wise prevalence of cryptosporidiosis in kids.

Animal Pre-Monsoon Monsoon Post-Monsoon Winter
No. of animals examined 48 123 122 89
No. of positive animals 12 (25) 34 (27.64) 64 (52.46) 36 (40.45)

Figures within parentheses indicate percentage.

The higher prevalence in post-monsoon and winter seasons might be due to close confinement and overcrowding of animals during these seasons. Higher prevalence of cryptosporidiosis in December has also been reported in calves (Lefay et al., 2000). Kids under one month age group seem to be more susceptible to infection as compared to higher age group indicating lack of maternal support and development of acquired immunity to cryptosporidiosis with increase in age.

Given that Cryptosporidium has the potential to cause clinical disease in goats and to be transmitted to other animal species and humans, so detection of the parasite in goats may be of major epidemiological significance. Knowledge of age and seasonal variations in the prevalence of Cryptosporidium infection may be helpful in designing prevention plans to minimise economic losses and potential hazards to public health.


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