Cryptosporidiosis is an infection caused by a protozoon that inhabits the gastrointestinal tract. More than forty valid species have been described in the genus Cryptosporidium, infecting a broad range of hosts around the world, some with zoonotic transmission and others with predominant anthroponotic transmission. Prevalence studies conducted in Latin American countries have been specific, without consolidating information on species prevalences. Thus, the aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis addressing the prevalence of Cryptosporidium species in animals in Latin America. The estimated pooled prevalence rate for cryptosporidiosis in animals, by means of meta-analysis with a random-effects model, based on species identification, was 18.0% (95% CI 11.0%-27.0%) with high heterogeneity. The estimated overall prevalence was 20.3% (36/177) in pets, 19.9% (1309/6573) in livestock animals and 23.9% (954/3995) in exotic/captive animals. Evidence of circulation of 16 Cryptosporidium species was found in five Latin American countries: Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Mexico. Through meta-analysis with a random-effects model, the pooled prevalence rate for Cryptosporidium parvum was 0.7% (95% CI 0.2%-2.4%). Cryptosporidium felis (8.5%) was the most prevalent species in pets, C. parvum (10.3%) in livestock animals and Cryptosporidium galli (17.6%) in exotic/captive animals. C. parvum was the species with the greatest geographical dispersion, which can be explained by its eurixenic and zoonotic potential. Few studies on cryptosporidiosis in animals in Latin America were found, which shows that there is a need for investment in and expansion of studies on this parasite. The pooled prevalence of C. parvum in Latin America and its wide circulation are similar to what has been observed in other developing regions, which reaffirms the importance of this species as the cause of a neglected, emerging and zoonotic parasitosis.
Keywords: Animals; Cryptosporidium; Exotic; Latin America; Livestock animals; Pets; Species.
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