The occurrence of Cryptosporidium parvum, Campylobacter and Salmonella in newborn dairy calves in the Manawatu region of New Zealand

The occurrence of Cryptosporidium parvum, Campylobacter and Salmonella in newborn dairy calves in the Manawatu region of New Zealand
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: To determine the occurrence of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts, Campylobacter spp and Salmonella spp in faecal samples taken from newborn dairy calves on 24 dairy farms in the Manawatu region of New Zealand.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted during the 2002 calving season. Faecal samples were collected from 185 newborn calves from a convenience sample of 24 dairy farms. The samples were tested microscopically for the presence of C. parvum oocysts, and bacteriologically for the presence of Campylobacter spp and Salmonella spp.
RESULTS: Infections with C. parvum were identified in 33/156 (21.2%) calves from 10 farms. More than 106 oocysts/g (OPG) faeces were detected in calves from four farms. Campylobacter spp were isolated from 58/161 (36%) calves from 18 farms; in particular, C. jejuni subsp jejuni was isolated from 11/161 (6.8%) calves from seven farms. Salmonellae were not detected.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the short and concentrated calving pattern and the long interval between calving seasons characterising most dairy farms in New Zealand, C. parvum is widespread among calves. Campylobacter spp, especially C. jejuni, rapidly colonise the intestinal tract of newborn calves.
RELEVANCE: This study provided an estimate of the ecological impact of newborn dairy calves with regard to the potentially zoonotic enteric pathogens most frequently isolated from human gastrointestinal infections in New Zealand.
KEY WORDS: Cattle, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, Salmonella

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