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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 13, 2018

First report of Cryptosporidium parvum in a dromedary camel calf from Western Australia

Alireza Zahedi, Gary K.C. Lee, Telleasha L. Greay, Audra L. Walsh, David J.C. Blignaut and Una M. Ryan
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


Cryptosporidium is an important enteric parasite that can contribute large numbers of infectious oocysts to drinking water catchments. As a result of its resistance to disinfectants including chlorine, it has been responsible for numerous waterborne outbreaks of gastroenteritis. Wildlife and livestock play an important role in the transmission of Cryptosporidium in the environment. Studies conducted outside Australia have indicated that camels may also play a role in the transmission of zoonotic species of Cryptosporidium. Despite Australia being home to the world’s largest camel herd, nothing is known about the prevalence and species of Cryptosporidium infecting camels in this country. In the present study, C. parvum was identified by PCR amplification and sequencing of a formalin-fixed intestinal tissue specimen from a one-week old dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius). Subtyping analysis at the glycoprotein 60 (gp60) locus identified C. parvum subtype IIaA17G2R1, which is a common zoonotic subtype reported in humans and animals worldwide. Histopathological findings also confirmed the presence of large numbers of variably-sized (1–3 µm in diameter) circular basophilic protozoa – consistent with Cryptosporidium spp.– adherent to the mucosal surface and occasionally free within the lumen. Further analysis of the prevalence and species of Cryptosporidium in camel populations across Australia are essential to better understand their potential for contamination of drinking water catchments.

  1. Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

  2. Ethical approval: All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.


This study was financially supported by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant number LP130100035. We would also like to thank Mr Gerard Spoelstra and Mr Michael Slaven for the preparation of histologic samples, and Mr James Poynton and veterinary students for assisting with the post-mortem examination.


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Received: 2017-10-26
Revised: 2018-1-4
Accepted: 2018-1-8
Published Online: 2018-4-13
Published in Print: 2018-6-26

© 2018 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS