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Cryptosporidium infections in suckler herd beef calves

  • C. BJÖRKMAN (a1), L. LINDSTRÖM (a1), C. OWESON (a1), H. AHOLA (a2), K. TROELL (a2) and C. AXÉN (a3)...


A study was carried out to investigate how common Cryptosporidium infections are in beef calves in Swedish suckler herds and to explore which species and subtypes that occur. We further aimed at identifying factors associated with shedding of Cryptosporidium oocysts in this type of calf management. The study was conducted in two regions in Sweden and included 30 herds. Faecal samples were collected from calves younger than 3 months. A brief clinical examination was done and a questionnaire was used to collect data on management routines. Faeces were cleaned and concentrated and oocysts identified by epifuorescence microscopy. Cryptosporidium positive samples were analyzed at the 18S rRNA and GP60 genes to determine species and Cryptosporidium parvum subtype, respectively. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with infection. Oocysts were detected in 122 (36·7%) calves from 29 (97%) herds, at 400 to 2·4 × 107 OPG. The youngest positive calves were only 1 and 2 days old. There was no association between age and Cryptosporidium infection. Cryptosporidium bovis, Cryptosporidium ryanae, C. parvum and Cryptosporidium ubiquitum were identified, with C. bovis being the major species. Two C. parvum subtypes, IIaA16G1R1 and IIdA27G1 were identified. Routines for cleaning calf pens and number of cows in calving pens were associated with infection.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7054, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden. Email:


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