Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium and Giardia isolates from cattle from Portugal

Vet Parasitol. 2007 Jun 20;147(1-2):47-50. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2007.03.019. Epub 2007 Apr 23.


Fecal samples from 291 calves and 176 adult cattle in Northern Portugal were screened for Cryptosporidium and Giardia using a formalin-ethyl acetate concentration method. Acid-fast staining techniques for Cryptosporidium oocyst identification and direct microscopic observation of fecal smears for Giardia cyst identification were performed so as immunofluorescence microscopy examination. Polymerase chain reaction methods were employed to determine the genotype of each isolate. Molecular characterization was performed using amplification and sequencing of the hsp70 and 18SrRNA genes of Cryptosporidium and beta-giardin gene and glutamate dehydrogenase for assemblage determination of Giardia duodenalis. Seventy-four out of 291 calves (25.4%) and 8 out of 176 adult bovines (4.5%) were positive for Cryptosporidium. Forty-one out of 291 calf samples (14.1%) and 1 out of 176 adults samples (0.57%) were positive for Giardia. From the Cryptosporidium positive samples we obtained 63 isolates from calves samples and 7 isolates from adult samples. Additionally, Giardia was isolated in 13 out of 41 positive samples from calves and it was also possible to isolate Giardia from the positive adult sample. Molecular characterization of the Cryptosporidium and Giardia isolates showed us that C. parvum and G. duodenalis assemblage E were the prevalent species. C. parvum may infect humans, representing a potential public health risk. On the other hand, the assemblages B and A2 of Giardia, previously described in humans, were here identified in cattle. Further studies will be needed for determine the importance of cattle as carrier of zoonotic assemblages of G. duodenalis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / parasitology*
  • Cryptosporidiosis / parasitology
  • Cryptosporidiosis / veterinary*
  • Cryptosporidium / classification*
  • Cryptosporidium / genetics
  • Cryptosporidium / isolation & purification
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Giardia / classification*
  • Giardia / genetics
  • Giardia / isolation & purification
  • Giardiasis / parasitology
  • Giardiasis / veterinary*
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Portugal
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / genetics
  • Species Specificity


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S
  • giardin protein, Giardia lamblia
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase