Sample prevalence and molecular characterisation of Cryptosporidium andersoni within a dairy herd in the United Kingdom

Vet Parasitol. 2006 Nov 30;142(1-2):163-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2006.06.031. Epub 2006 Aug 14.


Bovine cryptosporidiosis is usually an acute diarrhoeal disease of young calves caused by Cryptosporidium parvum. However, chronic infection with Cryptosporidium andersoni has been associated with gastritis, reduced milk yield and poor weight gain in adult cattle. Here we describe the first genetic confirmation and characterisation of C. andersoni from cattle in the United Kingdom and its sample prevalence within a dairy herd. Oocysts measured 7.5+/-0.4 microm x 5.5+/-0.4 microm (7.0-8.5 microm x 4.5-6.5 microm) with a length-to-width ratio of 1.37 (1.08-1.60). The within-herd sample prevalence was 16% (95% confidence intervals=10.4-21.6%). Nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and sequence analysis of the small subunit rDNA was used to confirm the species and characterise the isolates. Due to the lack of overt, acute, clinical symptoms, the incidence, prevalence and importance of this parasite is probably currently underestimated in cattle in the UK. The potential for zoonotic transmission is unknown.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cattle Diseases / parasitology*
  • Cryptosporidiosis / epidemiology
  • Cryptosporidiosis / parasitology
  • Cryptosporidiosis / veterinary*
  • Cryptosporidium / classification
  • Cryptosporidium / immunology
  • Cryptosporidium / isolation & purification*
  • DNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length*
  • Prevalence
  • Wales / epidemiology


  • DNA, Ribosomal