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Research article2003Peer reviewedOpen access

Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia intestinalis in calf diarrhoea in Sweden

Bjorkman C, Svensson C, Christensson B, de Verdier K


The objective of this study conducted in 75 herds was to investigate the presence and significance of Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia intestinalis in Swedish dairy calves in comparison with rotavirus, coronavirus and Escherichia coli K99+. The farmers were asked to collect faecal samples from each heifer calf that had diarrhoea between birth and 90 days of age, and also from a healthy calf of the same age. In total, 270 samples were collected and analysed. C. parvum, either alone or together with G. intestinalis and/or rotavirus, was detected in 16 (11%) and 6 (5%) of the samples from diarrhoea and healthy calves, respectively. Even though a higher proportion of diarrhoea calves shed C. parmin, the difference between the groups was not statistically significant (p=0.067), possibly due to the low number of positive samples. G. intestinalis was found in 42 (29%) of the diarrhoea samples and in 29 (23%) of the samples from healthy calves. Rotavirus and coronavirus were demonstrated in 24% and 3% of the diarrhoea samples, respectively, whereas E. coli K99+ was only found in samples from 2 healthy calves. C. parvum and G. intestinalis were found in samples from calves 7 to 84 days of age and during all seasons. The results confirm that C. parvum is present in Swedish dairy herds and might have clinical significance. G. intestinalis was the most common agent found but the importance of this parasite remains unclear. Both parasites have suggested zoonotic potential and thus warrant further attention. In addition, rotavirus is a major pathogen in neonatal enteritis in Sweden, whereas coronavirus and E. coli K99+ seem to be of less importance

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2003, Volume: 44, number: 3-4, pages: 145-152