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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Prevalence and associated management factors of Cryptosporidium shedding in 50 Swedish dairy herds

Silverlas, Charlotte; Emanuelson, Ulf; de Verdier, Kerstin; Bjorkman, Camilla


Cryptosporidium parvum is a protozoan parasite causing diarrhoea in young calves. This cross-sectional study was performed to estimate the prevalence of Cryptosporidium infected herds in a sample of Swedish dairy herds and to identify potential risk factors associated with shedding of oocysts. Fifty dairy herds, selected by stratified random sampling, were included. The herds were visited once during the indoor seasons of 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. Faecal samples were collected from 10 calves, 10 young stock and 5 cows in each herd. Clinical observations of sampled animals and environmental status were recorded, and farmers were interviewed about management procedures. Faecal samples were cleaned by sodium chloride flotation and detection of oocysts was made by epifluorescence microscopy. Cryptosporidium parvum-like oocysts were found in 96% of the herds. Prevalence was 52% in calves, 29% in young stock and 5.6% in cows. Three two-day-old calves shed oocysts. Cryptosporidium andersoni was found in seven animals from four different herds. Factors associated with prevalence of shedders among sampled animals in a herd were age at weaning, cleaning of single calf pens, placing of young stock, system for moving young stock, and year of sampling. Factors associated with shedding in calves were age, placing of young stock, routines for moving young stock and time calf stays with the cow. The only significant factor in young stock was age. In cows, number of calves in the herd and type of farming (organic vs. conventional) affected shedding. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Cryptosporidium parvum; Prevalence; Epidemiology; Risk factors; Shedding

Published in

Preventive Veterinary Medicine
2009, Volume: 90, number: 3-4, pages: 242-253