Prevalence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in Dairy Calves in Three Areas of Norway

Vet Parasitol. 2006 Sep 10;140(3-4):204-16. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2006.03.024. Epub 2006 May 2.


A study was undertaken to determine the prevalences of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in dairy calves less than 6 months of age in Norway. Faecal samples were collected from a total of 1386 calves, between 3 and 183 days of age, in 136 dairy farms from three different areas of Norway. Faecal samples were examined for Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts after concentration and immunofluorescent staining. Giardia was found in 93% (127 out of 136) of the farms and in 49% (679 out of 1386) of the calves. Cryptosporidium was found in 53% (72 out of 136) of the farms and in 12% (167 out of 1386) of the calves. The level of Giardia and/or Cryptosporidium was low in the majority of the infected calves. Infection peaked in the age group 2-3 months for both Cryptosporidium and Giardia. The prevalences of both parasites were higher in samples taken during winter than in samples taken during summer, and statistically significant differences were found when prevalences in different age groups of calves were compared between the three areas. A significantly lower prevalence of Cryptosporidium was found in calves housed in shared pens that were thoroughly washed more than three times a year than in calves from pens washed less often. For Giardia there was a trend for decreasing intensity of infection with increasing age in the sampled calves. For Cryptosporidium there was a trend for increasing herd prevalence with increasing number of calves in the herd, but this trend was not statistically significant. Other parameters which were investigated such as housing, feeding or management routines were not associated with prevalence or intensity of infection with either parasite.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cryptosporidiosis / epidemiology
  • Cryptosporidiosis / veterinary*
  • Cryptosporidium / isolation & purification*
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Giardia / isolation & purification*
  • Giardiasis / epidemiology
  • Giardiasis / veterinary*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Oocysts
  • Parasite Egg Count / veterinary
  • Prevalence
  • Seasons