Molecular Detection of Cryptosporidium Species in Domestic Ducks Sold for Food in Nigerian Live Bird Markets

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Cryptosporidium infections has been reported in several avian species including chickens, pigeons and game birds where these infections had been identified to cause either enteric or respiratory diseases. However, little data exists on the molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium species in ducks, especially those in frequent contact with humans. The aim of this study was to detect the Cryptosporidium species infecting domestic ducks in two major live bird markets. A total of 109 fresh faecal samples were collected from all the ducks available on sale in the two markets. The detection of Cryptosporidium species was conducted by microscopy. All positive samples were confirmed by the nested PCR amplification and the nucleotide sequencing of the 18S rRNA genes. The results demonstrated that the prevalence of Cryptosporidium infection in ducks using microscopy was 11.0 % (12/109). There was a higher prevalence 14.0 % (7/50) in ducks from Ibadan compared with those 8.5 % (5/59) obtained from Oyo town. All positive samples by microscopy were also positive using the nested PCR and the DNA sequencing of the secondary PCR products from the 18S rRNA genes which revealed the presence of Cryptosporidium parvum. This study revealed that natural infections of C. parvum may occur in ducks in close contact with humans and other domestic animals and therefore suggests that cryptosporidiosis in ducks may be of public health importance.

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