Objective—To evaluate a modified Ziehl-Neelsen
acid-fast staining technique (mZN), a direct immunofluorescence
detection procedure (DIF), and 3 commercial
enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) for detection of
Cryptosporidium oocysts in fecal specimens from kittens.
Sample Population—416 fecal specimens collected
from 104 randomly selected domestic shorthair kittens
(8 to 16 weeks of age) that were naturally
exposed to Cryptosporidium spp.
Procedure—Fresh fecal specimens were collected
once daily for 4 consecutive days and processed
immediately. Sensitivities of mZN, DIF, and 3 commercial
EIAs (EIA-1, EIA-2, and EIA-3) were estimated
Results—EIA-2 had the highest sensitivity on day 1
(89%), followed by EIA-1 (80%), and mZN (72%). EIA-
3 had the lowest sensitivity on day 1 (15%). EIA-2, EIA-
1, and mZN had similar sensitivities after 2 consecutive
fecal examinations (approx 90%). Determination of
specificities was compromised by the small number of
cats that had negative results for all tests (n = 3).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that EIA-2 and EIA-1 had the highest sensitivities
when only a single fecal specimen was examined;
however, mZN and EIA-1 had similar sensitivities
when 2 consecutive fecal specimens were examined.
The higher costs of EIA-2 and EIA-1 may be offset by
the tests’ high sensitivity, simplicity of use, and ease
of interpretation and by savings in technician time.
(J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:1549–1553)