Prevalence of Giardia duodenalis genotypes in pre-weaned dairy calves

Vet Parasitol. 2004 Oct 5;124(3-4):179-86. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2004.07.010.


To determine the prevalence of Giardia genotypes in pre-weaned dairy calves, fecal samples were collected from a minimum of 18, 1-7-week-old dairy calves per farm on two farms each in the states of Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. Samples cleaned of fecal debris and concentrated using CsCl density gradient centrifugation were stained and examined by immunofluorescence microscopy and also subjected to PCR and gene sequence analysis. Prevalence by PCR ranged from 9% on a farm in Pennsylvania to 93% on a farm in Vermont, with an average prevalence for 407 calves on 14 farms of 40%. Gene sequence analysis of the TPI, beta-giardin and 16S rRNA genes revealed 85% of the positive samples to be Assemblage E, while 15% were Assemblage A, although the percentages of these genotypes varied greatly from farm to farm. Some farms had no Assemblage A Giardia. Thus, while a majority of the calves were infected with a genotype that is not known to be infectious for humans, calves on 7 of 14 farms did harbor Assemblage A Giardia. Calves should be considered as a potential source of human infectious cysts in the environment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / parasitology
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cattle Diseases / parasitology*
  • Cattle Diseases / transmission
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Giardia / classification
  • Giardia / genetics*
  • Giardia / isolation & purification
  • Giardiasis / epidemiology
  • Giardiasis / parasitology
  • Giardiasis / transmission
  • Giardiasis / veterinary*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / veterinary
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Weaning
  • Zoonoses