Number of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts or Giardia spp cysts shed by dairy calves after natural infection

Daryl V. Nydam Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401.

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Susan E. Wade Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401.

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Stephanie L. Schaaf Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401.

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Hussni O. Mohammed Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401.

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 BVSc, MPVM, PhD

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the total number of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts and Giardia spp cysts shed by dairy calves during the period when they are most at risk after natural infection.

Animals—478 calves naturally infected with C parvum and 1,016 calves naturally infected with Giardia spp.

Procedure—Oocysts or cysts were enumerated from fecal specimens. Distribution of number of oocysts or cysts versus age was used to determine the best fitting mathematic function. Number of oocysts or cysts per gram of feces for a given duration of shedding was computed by determining the area under the curve. Total number of oocysts or cysts was calculated by taking the product of the resultant and the expected mass of feces.

Results—Intensity of C parvum oocyst shedding was best described by a second-order polynomial function. Shedding increased from 4 days of age, peaked at day 12, and then decreased. An infected 6-day-old calf would produce 3.89 X 1010 oocysts until 12 days old. Pattern of shedding of Giardia spp cysts was best described by exponential functions. Intensity of shedding increased from 4 days of age, peaked at day 14, and then decreased. An infected calf would produce 3.8 X 107 cysts from day 50 until day 56.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—The large number of oocysts and cysts shed indicates that shedding by dairy cattle poses a risk for susceptible calves and people. Estimates reported here may be useful to aid in designing cost-effective strategies to manage this risk. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1612–1615)

Abstract

Objective—To determine the total number of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts and Giardia spp cysts shed by dairy calves during the period when they are most at risk after natural infection.

Animals—478 calves naturally infected with C parvum and 1,016 calves naturally infected with Giardia spp.

Procedure—Oocysts or cysts were enumerated from fecal specimens. Distribution of number of oocysts or cysts versus age was used to determine the best fitting mathematic function. Number of oocysts or cysts per gram of feces for a given duration of shedding was computed by determining the area under the curve. Total number of oocysts or cysts was calculated by taking the product of the resultant and the expected mass of feces.

Results—Intensity of C parvum oocyst shedding was best described by a second-order polynomial function. Shedding increased from 4 days of age, peaked at day 12, and then decreased. An infected 6-day-old calf would produce 3.89 X 1010 oocysts until 12 days old. Pattern of shedding of Giardia spp cysts was best described by exponential functions. Intensity of shedding increased from 4 days of age, peaked at day 14, and then decreased. An infected calf would produce 3.8 X 107 cysts from day 50 until day 56.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—The large number of oocysts and cysts shed indicates that shedding by dairy cattle poses a risk for susceptible calves and people. Estimates reported here may be useful to aid in designing cost-effective strategies to manage this risk. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1612–1615)

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