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Vet Parasitol. 2012 Oct 26;189(2-4):366-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 May 11.

Peri-parturient rise of Cryptosporidium oocysts in cows: new insights provided by duplex quantitative real-time PCR.

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  • 1Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Backweston Campus, Celbrigde, Co. Kildare, Ireland.


In order to clarify if a peri-parturient rise of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts occurs in cows, faecal samples from 42 cows on two farms were collected. These samples were taken during the pre-parturient, the peri-parturient and the post-parturient periods. Two methods were used to detect the oocysts, a nested-PCR coupled with sequencing and a duplex real-time PCR (qPCR) that quantified Cryptosporidium spp. DNA concentration. The qPCR results were adjusted using a hierarchical Bayesian model taking into account within and between run variation. Generalised Estimating Equation models (GEE) were used to determine if peri-parturient cows were at greater risk of being infected than pre- or post-parturient cows. Fourteen dairy cows exhibited a peri-parturient and post-parturient rise in the excretion of Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts, other than the zoonotic C. parvum. The cows in the suckler beef farm were the only ones infected with the zoonotic species C. parvum at calving. Due to the low concentration of oocysts excreted mainly from species other than C. parvum, it would appear unlikely that cows act as a source of infection for their calves or contribute significantly to environmental contamination.

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