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Introduction: Human cryptosporidiosis is a zoonotic disease and is increasingly recognized as a major public health problem. It is associated with significant effects on growth, physical and cognitive functions and excess mortality especially among children.
Aim: To determine the prevalence of Cryptosporidium oocyst excretion in children less than 5years with diarrhoea in ABUTH Zaria.
Methods: Children aged 0 to 59 months managed in paediatrics wards of ABUTH for diarrhoea were studied between July 2008 and June 2009. Stool specimens obtained from these subjects were analysed for Cryptosporidium oocysts using the modified ZN staining technique.
Results: A total of 185 children were enrolled. There were 78 (42.2%) boys and 107(57.8%) girls. A total of 33 children studied excreted oocysts in their stools, giving a prevalence of Cryptosporidium oocysts of 17.8%. The
highest rate (21.7%) was observed in children aged between 13 and 36 months, and no oocysts were observed in stools of neonates. Oocyst excretion was observed to be commoner in the rainy season.
Conclusion: Cryptosporidium is a common cause of diarrhoea among under-five children in our environment. It was commoner after infancy and in the rainy season. Recommendation: Routine screening for Cryptosporidium should be part of evaluation of diarrhoeal illness especially in children beyond the neonatal age group.
Key words: Cryptosporidiosis; diarrhoea; under-five; children