Immunofluorescence detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts in fecal smears

J Clin Microbiol. 1986 Oct;24(4):517-21. doi: 10.1128/jcm.24.4.517-521.1986.


An indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) procedure was developed for the detection of Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts in human, nonhuman primate, and bovine fecal smears. The procedure, which takes about 90 min to perform, involves the use of a rabbit antiserum against Cryptosporidium oocysts isolated from dairy cattle. Cross-specificity testing of the IFA method revealed no reactivity with yeasts, various amoebae, Giardia lamblia, Chilomastix sp., or Blastocystis sp. and only very weak cross-reactivity with coccidian oocysts of other genera. IFA detection of oocysts in human and nonhuman primate fecal smears was far more sensitive than was dimethyl sulfoxide-carbolfuchsin staining. Moreover, IFA detection was comparable in sensitivity to auramine O staining with samples of high oocyst concentration and somewhat more sensitive than auramine O with samples containing relatively few oocysts. The IFA procedure may be useful in the clinical diagnosis of human and animal cryptosporidiosis and also in the detection of oocysts in environmental samples.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzophenoneidum
  • Cattle
  • Coccidia / isolation & purification*
  • Cross Reactions
  • Cryptosporidium / isolation & purification*
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide
  • Feces / parasitology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Macaca nemestrina
  • Rosaniline Dyes
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Rosaniline Dyes
  • Benzophenoneidum
  • carbol-fuchsin solution
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide