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Factors associated with shedding of Cryptosporidium parvum versus Cryptosporidium bovis among dairy cattle in New York State

Simon R. StarkeySection of Epidemiology, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Peter E. ZeiglerSection of Epidemiology, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Susan E. WadeAnimal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Stephanie L. SchaafAnimal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Hussni O. MohammedSection of Epidemiology, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Abstract

Objective—To isolate and speciate Cryptosporidium DNA from fecal samples obtained from dairy cattle in New York State and identify factors associated with whether cattle were shedding Cryptosporidium parvum versus Cryptosporidium bovis.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample Population—115 fecal samples positive for DNA coding for the Cryptosporidium 18S rRNA gene from dairy cattle in New York State.

Procedures—A PCR assay was used to amplify DNA from fecal samples; amplification products were submitted for bidirectional DNA sequencing. Logistic regression was used to test for associations between various host factors and Cryptosporidium spp.

Results—70 of the 115 (61%) fecal samples were found to have C parvum DNA, 42 (37%) were determined to have C bovis DNA, and 3 (3%) were found to have C parvum deer-type DNA. The presence of diarrhea at the time of fecal sample collection, oocyst count, and breed were associated with whether cattle were infected with C parvum or C bovis, with animals more likely to be infected with C parvum if they had diarrhea, had a high oocyst count, or were Holsteins.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that C parvum and C bovis can be isolated from dairy cattle in New York State and that various factors affect whether cattle infected with Cryptosporidium spp are infected with C parvum or C bovis. Findings also lend credence to the theory that C bovis may be more host adapted and thus less pathogenic to dairy cattle than C parvum.

Abstract

Objective—To isolate and speciate Cryptosporidium DNA from fecal samples obtained from dairy cattle in New York State and identify factors associated with whether cattle were shedding Cryptosporidium parvum versus Cryptosporidium bovis.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample Population—115 fecal samples positive for DNA coding for the Cryptosporidium 18S rRNA gene from dairy cattle in New York State.

Procedures—A PCR assay was used to amplify DNA from fecal samples; amplification products were submitted for bidirectional DNA sequencing. Logistic regression was used to test for associations between various host factors and Cryptosporidium spp.

Results—70 of the 115 (61%) fecal samples were found to have C parvum DNA, 42 (37%) were determined to have C bovis DNA, and 3 (3%) were found to have C parvum deer-type DNA. The presence of diarrhea at the time of fecal sample collection, oocyst count, and breed were associated with whether cattle were infected with C parvum or C bovis, with animals more likely to be infected with C parvum if they had diarrhea, had a high oocyst count, or were Holsteins.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that C parvum and C bovis can be isolated from dairy cattle in New York State and that various factors affect whether cattle infected with Cryptosporidium spp are infected with C parvum or C bovis. Findings also lend credence to the theory that C bovis may be more host adapted and thus less pathogenic to dairy cattle than C parvum.

Contributor Notes

Supported in part by the National Research Initiative of the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, grant No. 2002-35212-1237 and by funds from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Graduate Research Assistantship Program.

Address correspondence to Dr. Mohammed.