Cryptosporidium in farmed animals: The detection of a novel isolate in sheep

R. M. Chalmers*, K. Elwin, W. J. Reilly, H. Irvine, A. L. Thomas, P. R. Hunter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


We describe the discovery of polymorphisms in the Cryptosporidium oocyst wall protein (COWP) gene conferring a novel restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) pattern in 26/60 (43%) isolates from a flock of sheep sampled following a waterborne outbreak of human cryptosporidiosis. The sheep isolates showed identical PCR-RFLP patterns to each other by COWP genotyping but different from those of most currently recognised genotypes, including the major Cryptosporidium parvum genotypes 1 and 2. Sequence analysis of the 550 bp amplicon from the COWP gene was compared with a DNA coding region employed in previous studies and showed the novel isolate to differ from other Cryptosporidium species and C. parvum isolates by 7-21%. The sheep-derived isolates were compared at this and further three Cryptosporidium gene loci with isolates from other farmed animals. The loci employed were one in the thrombospondin related adhesive protein (TRAP-C2) gene and two in the 70 kDa heat shock protein (HSP70) gene (CPHSP1 and 2). Other animal samples tested in our laboratory were from clinically ill animals and all contained C. parvum genotype 2. The sheep in which the novel isolate was identified were healthy and showed no symptoms of cryptosporidiosis, and the novel sheep isolate could represent a non-pathogenic strain. Our studies suggest that a previously undetected Cryptosporidium sub-type may exist in sheep populations, reflecting the increasingly recognised diversity within the parasite genus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Genotyping
  • Prevalence
  • Sequencing
  • Sheep


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