Prevalence of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis in pigs in Lusaka, Zambia

09 Sep 2013

This study was aimed at determining the prevalence of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis in pigs which were being raised in intensive management systems. Faecal samples were collected from pigs of all age groups from three different piggery units. Samples were collected directly from the rectum for piglets and weaners and from the floor within 2 min – 5 min of excretion for sows and boars. At the time of collection, faecal consistency was noted as being normal, pasty or diarrhoeic. Samples were analysed further using the Merifluor® Cryptosporidium/Giardia immunofluorescence assay. All piggeries had at least one pig infected with either parasite. From a total 217 samples collected, 96 (44.2%; confidence interval [CI] = 37.6% – 50.9%) were positive for Cryptosporidium spp., whilst 26 (12%; CI = 7.6% – 16.3%) had G. duodenalis parasites. Of all the pigs, 6.9% (15/217) harboured both parasites. With regard to Cryptosporidium spp. infection, statistically significant differences were observed amongst the three units (p = 0.001), whereas no significant differences were observed for G. duodenalis infection (p = 0.13). Prevalence was higher in weaners as compared to other pig classes for both parasites, with significant differences being observed for G. duodenalis infection (p = 0.013). There was, however, no difference in infection between male and female pigs for both parasites. Furthermore, most infections were asymptomatic. From the study results it was clear that Cryptosporidium spp. and G. duodenalis infections were prevalent amongst pigs in the piggeries evaluated and, as such, may act as a source of infection for persons who come into contact with them.