Original Research

Prevalence and determinants of Cryptosporidium spp. infection in smallholder dairy cattle in Iringa and Tanga Regions of Tanzania

E.S. Swai, N.P. French, E.D. Karimuribo, J.L. Fitzpatrick, M.J. Bryant, D.M. Kambarage, N.H. Ogden
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 74, No 1 | a136 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v74i1.136 | © 2007 E.S. Swai, N.P. French, E.D. Karimuribo, J.L. Fitzpatrick, M.J. Bryant, D.M. Kambarage, N.H. Ogden | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 13 September 2007 | Published: 13 September 2007

About the author(s)

E.S. Swai,
N.P. French,
E.D. Karimuribo,
J.L. Fitzpatrick,
M.J. Bryant,
D.M. Kambarage,
N.H. Ogden,

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Abstract

The prevalence of Cryptosporidium spp. infection in a cross-sectional study of dairy cattle, from two contrasting dairying regions in Tanzania, were determined by staining smears of faecal samples with the modified Ziehl-Neelsen technique. Of the 1 126 faecal samples screened, 19.7% were positive for Cryptosporidium spp. The prevalence was lower in Tanga Region than in Iringa Region. The prevalence of affected farms was 20% in Tanga and 21% in Iringa. In both regions, the probability of detecting Cryptosporidium oocysts in faeces varied with animal class, but these were not consistent in both regions. In Tanga Region, Cryptosporidium oocysts were significantly more likely to be found in the faeces of milking cows. In Iringa Region, the likelihood that cattle had Cryptosporidium-positive faeces declined with age, and milking cattle were significantly less likely to have Cryptosporidium positive faeces. In this region, 7% of cattle were housed within the family house at night, and this was marginally associated with a higher likelihood that animals had Cryptosporidium-positive faeces. Our study suggests that even though herd sizes are small, Cryptosporidium spp. are endemic on many Tanzanian smallholder dairy farms. These protozoa may impact on animal health and production, but also on human health, given the close associations between the cattle and their keepers. Further studies are required to assess these risks in more detail, and understand the epidemiology of Cryptosporidium spp. in this management system.

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