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Cryptosporidium species detected in calves and cattle in Dagoretti, Nairobi, Kenya


A total of 1,734 cattle faecal samples from 296 dairy-keeping households were collected from urban settings in Nairobi, Kenya. Modified Ziehl–Neelsen staining method and an immunofluorescence assay were used to identify those samples with Cryptosporidium oocyst infection. Oocysts from positive faecal samples were isolated by Sheather's sucrose flotation method and picked from the concentrate using cover slips. Genomic DNA was extracted from 124 of the faecal samples that were positive for Cryptosporidium and was used as template for nested PCR of the 18S rRNA gene. Twenty-five samples (20 %) were PCR-positive for Cryptosporidium, and 24 of the PCR products were successfully cloned and sequenced. Sequence and phylogenetic analysis identified 17 samples (68 %) as Cryptosporidium parvum-like, four samples (16 %) as Cryptosporidium ryanae, three samples (12 %) as Cryptosporidium andersoni and one sample (4 %) as Cryptosporidium hominis. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first genotyping study to report C. parvum-like, C. andersoni and C. hominis in cattle from Kenya. The results of this study show Cryptosporidium infections in calves and cattle may be potential zoonotic reservoirs of the parasite that infects humans.

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The authors wish to thank the International Research Development Centre for funding this work under the grant 103075-001. We also thank all the members of the research team involved in this project for the support and encouragement in various ways.

We also acknowledge the support given by the BecA-ILRI Hub, for their excellent technical support.

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Correspondence to Erastus K. Kang’ethe.

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This paper is part of a special supplement on assessing and managing urban zoonoses and food-borne disease in two African cities (Nairobi, Kenya and Ibadan, Nigeria).

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Kang’ethe, E.K., Mulinge, E.K., Skilton, R.A. et al. Cryptosporidium species detected in calves and cattle in Dagoretti, Nairobi, Kenya. Trop Anim Health Prod 44, 25–31 (2012).

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  • Cryptosporidium
  • Genotyping
  • Dairy farming
  • Kenya