Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. in native calves in Nigeria


Most studies on the distribution of Cryptosporidium species in cattle were done with dairy breeds in industrialized nations. In this study, 65 fecal samples from randomly selected 12–24-week-old diarrheic calves in four white Fulani herds in southwestern Nigeria were screened for Cryptosporidium spp. using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)–restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the small subunit rRNA gene. Thirty-four (52.3%) of the samples were positive for Cryptosporidium. RFLP analysis of PCR products showed that 18 (27.7%) and five (7.7%) of the positive samples had Cryptosporidium bovis and Cryptosporidium ryanae, respectively, and 11 (16.9%) had mixed infections of the two species. The absence of C. parvum suggests that the age group of calves studied is not likely to be source of zoonotic infection to humans.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Ayeni AO, Olubunmi PA, Abe JO (1985) The occurrence and effect of Cryptosporidium species on livestock in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Trop Vet 3:96–100

  2. Alves M, Xiao L, Sulaiman I, Lal AA, Matos O, Antunes F (2003) Subgenotype analysis of Cryptosporidium isolates from humans, cattle, and zoo ruminants in Portugal. J Clin Microbiol 41:2744–2747

  3. Fayer R, Santin M, Xiao L (2005) Cryptosporidium bovis n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Cryptosporidiidae) in cattle (Bos taurus). J Parasitol 91:624–629

  4. Fayer R, Santin M, Trout JM, Greiner E (2006) Prevalence of species and genotypes of Cryptosporidium found in 1-2-year-old dairy cattle in the eastern United States. Vet Parasitol 135:105–112

  5. Fayer R, Santin M, Trout JM (2008) Cryptosporidium ryanae n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Cryptosporidiidae) in cattle (Bos taurus). Vet Parasitol 156:191–198

  6. Feng Y, Ortega Y, He G, Das P, Xu M, Zhang X, Fayer R, Gatei W, Cama V, Xiao L (2007) Wide geographic distribution of Cryptosporidium bovis and the deer-like genotype in bovines. Vet Parasitol 144:1–9

  7. Geurden TGF, Siwila J, Phiri IG, Mwanza AM, Gabriel S, Claerebout E, Vercruysse J (2006) Prevalence and genotyping of Cryptosporidium in three cattle husbandry systems in Zambia. Vet Parasitol 138:217–222

  8. Kvac M, Sak B, Kvetonova D, Ditrich O, Hofmannova L, Modry D, Vitovec J, Xiao L (2008) Infectivity, pathogenicity, and genetic characteristics of mammalian gastric Cryptosporidium spp. in domestic ruminants. Vet Parasitol 153:363–367

  9. Ibrahim UI, Mbaya AW, Mahmud H, Mohammed A (2007) Prevalence of cryptosporidiosis among captive wild animals and birds in the arid region of north-eastern Nigeria. Vet Arhiv 77:337–344

  10. Santin M, Trout JM, Xiao L, Zhou L, Greiner E, Fayer R (2004) Prevalence and age-related variation of Cryptosporidium species and genotypes in dairy calves. Vet Parasitol 122:103–117

  11. Xiao L (2010) Molecular epidemiology of cryptosporidiosis: an update. Exp Parasitol 124:80–89

  12. Xiao L, Fayer R (2008) Molecular characterisation of species and genotypes of Cryptosporidium and Giardia and assessment of zoonotic transmission. Int J Parasitol 38:1239–1255

  13. Xiao L, Feng Y (2008) Zoonotic cryptosporidiosis. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 52:309–323

  14. Xiao L, Escalant L, Yang C, Sulaiman I, Escalante AA, Montali RJ, Fayer R, Lal AA (1999) Phylogenetic analysis of Cryptosporidium parasites based on the small-subunit rRNA gene locus. Appl Environ Microbiol 65:1578–1583

  15. Xiao L, Fayer R, Ryan U, Upton SJ (2004) Cryptosporidium taxonomy: recent advances and implications for public health. Clin Microbiol Rev 17:72–97

Download references


This work was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Overseas Training Grant from University of Ibadan (Nigeria) and the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA. We thank Theresa Dearen for technical assistance. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Author information

Correspondence to Lihua Xiao.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ayinmode, A.B., Olakunle, F.B. & Xiao, L. Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. in native calves in Nigeria. Parasitol Res 107, 1019–1021 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-010-1972-1

Download citation


  • Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism
  • Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Pattern
  • Santin