Occurrence of Cryptosporidium species coproantigens on a University teaching farm in Nigeria
This study was carried out to assess the potential of animals, used for teaching and research, as a source of Cryptosporidium infection for students and staff of a University in Nigeria. Faecal samples from 185 animals reared on the teaching and research farm were collected and examined for Cryptosporidium spp. antigens by the use of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). From all the samples evaluated, 35.7% (66/185) were positive for Cryptosporidium spp. antigens with an infection rate of 30.6% (15/49), 40.7% (22/54), 43.9% (18/41) and 26.8% (11/41) for cattle, sheep, goats and pigs respectively. The rate of infection was significantly higher (p<0.05) in pre-weaned animals (63.6%) than in the post-weaned (23.6%) and adult (29.1%) animals. The infection rates, 54.8% and 42.3%, for diarrhoeic and female animals were significantly higher (p<0.05) than in non-diarrhoeic and male animals respectively. The presence of coproantigens of Cryptosporidium spp. observed in stool samples of ruminants and pigs suggests that these animals may be considered as a potential reservoir of this protozoa, that is able to contaminate the environment, infect other domestic and wild animals and in some cases humans.
Keywords: Cryptosporidium, ELISA, Nigeria, Pigs, Ruminants