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Infectivity of Cryptosporidium parvum genotype I in conventionally reared piglets and lambs

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Parasites of the genus Cryptosporidium are intracellular parasites that occur throughout the animal kingdom and have been reported in many species of mammals, including human. Most infections in humans are caused by two C. parvum genotypes, genotype I and genotype II; these are the human and the bovine (zoonotic) genotypes, respectively.

Successful experimental infection of Cryptosporidium parvum genotype I "human genotype" is described in four conventionally reared piglets and in a lamb. The inoculum was originally obtained from two diarrheic children, and the Cryptosporidium genotypes were determined by PCR and rDNA sequencing. The infective dose was between 106 and 2×106 oocysts. No clinical signs were observed in the infected animals, except in a piglet that showed watery diarrhea. The oocyst shedding period in positive animals ranged between 4 and 10 days. Histopathologic examination of the gastrointestinal tract of two positive piglets revealed shortening of the villi and denudation of the villous tips of the jejunum. In one piglet, the colon mucosa revealed numerous Cryptosporidium oocysts. The storage time of the inocula (≤3 weeks in PBS at 4°C) and the age of the animal (newborn) were important for the successful induction of infection.

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Thanks are due to Dr. Naomi Oliel and Dr. Esther Bürgi for provision of the piglets, Mr. Hanspeter Müller for the care of the experimental animals, and to the laboratory technicians at the Institute of Parasitology for their unfailing help during the experiment.

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Correspondence to P. Deplazes.

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Ebeid, M., Mathis, A., Pospischil, A. et al. Infectivity of Cryptosporidium parvum genotype I in conventionally reared piglets and lambs. Parasitol Res 90, 232–235 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-003-0839-0

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  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Cryptosporidia Oocyst
  • Newborn Lamb
  • Fecal Homogenate
  • Large White Breed