Submitted to: American Society of Parasitologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 28, 2009
Publication Date: August 17, 2009
Citation: Fayer, R., Gomez-Munoz, M., Trout, J.M., Santin, M. 2009. Concurrent infections with Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia duodenalis, Enterocytozoon bieneusi, and Blastocystis spp. in naturally infected dairy cattle from birth to two years of age. 84th Meeting of the American Society of Parasitologists. p. 94. Technical Abstract: Fecal specimens were collected directly at weekly and then monthly intervals from each of 30 dairy calves from birth to 24 months to determine the prevalence and age distribution of Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia duodenalis assemblages, Enterocytozoon bieneusi genotypes, and Blastocystis spp subtypes. After sieving and density gradient centrifugation to remove fecal debris and concentrate parasites, all 990 specimens were examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for each of the four parasites. A fragment of the SSU-rDNA gene of Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Blastocystis and a fragment of the internal transcriber spacer (ITS) region of the rDNA gene of E. bieneusi were amplified by PCR, a total of 3960 PCRs. All positive PCR products (~1400) were sequenced to determine species and genotype identity. All 30 calves shed Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E. bieneusi, and Blastocystis at some time during the study, each exhibiting unique age-related patterns but all being found concurrently in some animals. Four species of Cryptosporidium were detected: C. parvum, C. bovis, C. ryanae, and C. andersoni with cumulative prevalences of 100, 80, 60, and 3.3 percent, respectively. Two assemblages of Giardia were detected: A (zoonotic) and E with cumulative prevalences of 70 and 100 percent, respectively. E. bieneusi was detected in all calves including genotypes J, I and BEB4 that appear to be cattle-specific. A unique genotype of Blastocystis, not previously reported, was detected in all calves. This long term study of cattle documents for the first time concurrent infections with these four genera of pathogens, and recognizes both the potential impact of animal health as well as potential for zoonotic transmission.