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Cryptosporidiosis: comparison of three diagnostic methods and effects of storage temperature on detectability of cryptosporidia in cattle faeces

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Three diagnostic methods (a modified Ziehl–Neelsen staining technique (MZN), a negative staining with carbol fuchsine (CF) and a commercial enzyme immunoassay (EIA) kit, ProSpecT® Cryptosporidium Microplate Assay (Remel, Lenexa, KS, USA)) for detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts in cattle faeces were compared regarding sensitivity and suitability under routine laboratory conditions, with particular emphasis on sample storage. In the 103 faecal samples examined, cryptosporidia infections were detected significantly more often by EIA (p < 0.05; n = 76) than by MZN (n = 65) if ten random fields were evaluated microscopically, but not if the whole coverslip was scanned. In contrast, sensitivities of EIA and CF (n = 69) did not differ significantly. Results were obtained very rapidly by CF. However, the hands-on time of CF is comparable to EIA, while MZN is more time consuming. EIA is more expensive than CF and MZN but easy to perform and to evaluate and does not need considerably experienced staff in contrast to CF and MZN. Moreover, 45 faecal samples stored for up to 27 days at different temperatures (+6°C, +16°C, +30°C, +40°C) were examined. The sensitivity of microscopic detection of oocysts in stained smears (CF, MZN) decreased in a temperature and time-dependent manner, while EIA results were not influenced by sample storage at any temperature.

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We disclose any financial and personal relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately bias our work.

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Correspondence to Yvonne Kuhnert-Paul.

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Kuhnert-Paul, Y., Bangoura, B., Dittmar, K. et al. Cryptosporidiosis: comparison of three diagnostic methods and effects of storage temperature on detectability of cryptosporidia in cattle faeces. Parasitol Res 111, 165–171 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-011-2813-6

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  • Faecal Sample
  • Cryptosporidium Oocyst
  • Cryptosporidium Infection
  • Oocyst Wall
  • Cattle Faeces