Introduction: Cryptosporidium is a coccidian parasite that can infect most mammals, including humans. This parasite is an important cause of neonatal diarrhea and morbidity in calves, causing substantial economic loss to animal husbandry. Because of the importance of this parasite in calves, this study was designed in order to determine prevalence of Cryptosporidium spp. among calves under one year old in Ilam county (Iran).

Methods: Prevalence of Cryptosporidium spp. was estimated using a cross-sectional study. Fecal samples from 400 calves under 1 year old were collected in Ilam County, from March 2014 to February 2015 and they were microscopically analyzed using modified Ziehl-Neelsen method (mZN).

Results: The overall prevalence of Cryptosporidiosis in calves was 16% (64/400). According to age categories, the highest infection was observed in calves under one month old, and the lowest infection occurred in calves 6 to 12 months old. Age was significantly associated with Cryptosporidium spp. infection (p<0.05). The prevalence of Cryptosporidiosis in diarrheic and none diarrheic calves was 27.3 and 12.4 % respectively, which indicated a significant association between positivity and diarrhea (p<0.05). The highest prevalence was observed in winter followed by autumn, spring and summer respectively. No statically difference was found between prevalence of Cryptosporidiosis and seasons of sampling. Also, calves’ gender was not associated with Cryptosporidium spp. infection in this study. 

Conclusion: Our results provide useful information about the distribution of Cryptosporidium spp. Also, the role of potential risk factors including age, sex, clinical status and seasons of sampling was indicated in studied calves from Ilam County.


Keywords: Cryptosporidium spp., prevalence, Calves, Ilam, Iran
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