BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0384.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: Cryptosporidium; dairy cattle; gp60; genotyping; 18S rRNA; occurrence; Cyprus
Online: 25 January 2022 (14:06:37 CET)
Cryptosporidium parvum is one of the major causes of neonatal calf diarrhoea resulting in reduced farm productivity and compromised animal welfare worldwide. Livestock act as a major reservoir of this parasite, which can be transmitted to humans directly and/or indirectly, posing a public health risk. Research reports on Cryptosporidium prevalence from the east Mediterranean region are scarce with even less originating from Cyprus. This study is the first to explore occurrence of Cryptosporidium spp. in young dairy calves on the island. A total of 242 faecal samples were collected from 10 dairy cattle farms in Cyprus, all of which were screened for Cryptosporidium spp. using nested-PCR amplification targeting the small subunit of the ribosomal RNA (18S rRNA) gene. The 60 kDa glycoprotein (gp60) gene was also sequenced for the samples identified as C. parvum positive to determine the subtypes present. Occurrence of Cryptosporidium was 43.8% (106/242) with at least one positive isolate in each farm sampled. Prevalence per farm ranged from 20¬‒64%, while C. bovis, C. ryanae and C. parvum were the only species identified. Amongst those, the latter was the predominant species, representing 51.8% of all positive samples. Four zoonotic subtypes were identified – IIaA14G1R1, IIaA15G1R1, IIaA15G2R1 and IIaA18G2R1. IIaA14G1R1 was the most abundant; representing 48.2% of all C. parvum positive samples and was also the most widespread. This is the first report of zoonotic subtypes of C. parvum circulating in Cyprus. These results highlight the need for further research into the parasite focusing on its diversity, prevalence, host-range and transmission dynamics on the island.