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Prevalence and risk factors associated with Cryptosporidium spp. infection in local breed of dogs in Enugu State, Nigeria.

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Aims:

Cryptosporidiosis is an important zoonotic disease of major public and veterinary concern. The disease affects humans and a variety of animal species including the domestic dog. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with Cryptosporidium spp. infection in local breed of dogs from different homes and those presented at veterinary hospitals and clinics in Enugu State, Nigeria.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 203 fresh fecal samples were collected from domestic dogs in six local government areas in Enugu State from February 2015 to August 2015. All the samples were examined using the formol-ether sedimentation method. Fecal smears were then stained by the modified Ziehl-Neelsen technique and examined under direct light microscopy.

Results:

A total of 74 (36.5%) dogs were infected with Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts. There was a strong association (p<0.05) between the presence of Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts and management practices. However, there was no statistically significant association (p>0.05) between the presence of Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts and age, sex, and fecal consistency.

Conclusion:

The findings of this work suggest that domestic dogs in Enugu State harbor and shed Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts in the environment, especially those managed semi-intensively. Such fecal shedding is particularly so and of greater zoonotic and epidemiological importance in animals that do not show clinical signs and therefore not treated. They, therefore, pose a greater public health risk, especially to immune-compromised humans and animals. Public education on the zoonotic implication of this protozoan infection is of paramount importance in Enugu State, in particular, and Nigeria, in general, considering the closeness of dogs and man.

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