Cryptosporidium Diagnostic Assays: Microscopy

  • Guy Robinson
  • Rachel M. ChalmersEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2052)


Stained microscopy of fecal smears was the cornerstone of Cryptosporidium diagnosis for many years, and still provides a low-cost method for detecting oocysts. The development and commercialization of improved enzyme immunosorbent assays (EIA) for coproantigen detection provided an automatable method for mass testing, and rapid diagnostics when incorporated onto a cartridge format. Similarly, immunochromatographic lateral flow assays (ICLF) enable rapid diagnostics. Nevertheless, it is important that positive reactions by EIA or ICLF are confirmed. Here we describe microscopical methods using tinctorial stains for the diagnosis of acute cryptosporidiosis, and using immunofluorescent reagents for diagnosis or for confirmation of EIA or ICLF positive reactions.


Cryptosporidium Oocyst detection Microscopy Ziehl–Neelsen Auramine phenol Immunofluorescent 


  1. 1.
    Casemore DP, Armstrong M, Sands RL (1985) Laboratory diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis. J Clin Path 38:1337–1341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Smith H (2008) Diagnostics. In: Fayer R, Xiao L (eds) Cryptosporidium and cryptosporidiosis, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Anon (2016) Chapter 2.9.4. Cryptosporidiosis. In: Manual of diagnostic tests and vaccines for terrestrial animals. Available at: Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chalmers RM, Campbell BM, Crouch N, Charlett A, Davies AP (2011) Comparison of the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of seven Cryptosporidium assays used in the United Kingdom. J Med Microbiol 60:1598–1604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chalmers RM, Katzer F (2013) Looking for Cryptosporidium: the application of advances in detection and diagnosis. Trends Parasitol 29:237–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Perry JL, Matthews JS, Miller GR (1990) Parasite detection efficiencies of five stool concentration systems. J Clin Microbiol 28:1094–1097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Saez AC, Manser MM, Andrews N, Chiodini PL (2011) Comparison between the Midi Parasep and Midi Parasep solvent free (SF) faecal parasite concentrators. J Clin Pathol 64:901–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hanscheid T, Melo Cristino J, Salgado MJ (2008) Screening of auramine-stained smears of all fecal samples is a rapid and inexpensive way to increase the detection of coccidial infections. Int J Infect Dis 12:47–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cryptosporidium Reference Unit, Public Health Wales Microbiology and Health ProtectionSingleton HospitalSwanseaUK

Personalised recommendations