Veterinary advice should be sought from your local veterinarian before applying any treatment or vaccine. Not sure who to use? Look up veterinarians who specialize in poultry using our directory listing. Find me a Vet
Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Cryptosporidium. It manifests as a respiratory infection, urinary tract infection, and/or gastroenteritis. The majority of cases of cryptosporidiosis in chickens are caused by C. baileyi and C. meleagridis, and rarely C. galli and C. parvum. C. baileyi can cause mild to severe gastroenteritis or respiratory infections, whereas C. meleagridis mainly causes gastroenteritis. Sometimes birds can be infected with C. parvum or C. galli without showing any signs of infection. C. parvum is the only strain of cryptosporidium capable of causing infection in humans.
Transmission occurs through the ingestion of Cryptosporidium oocysts that are passed in the faeces of an infected host. Cryptosporidium does not reproduce outside of a host, and ooysts are infectious immediately upon being excreted in feces. Infection results from the ingestion or inhalation of sporulated oocysts in contaminated water, feed, bedding, and dust. Cryptosporidium infect a wide range of host species, including humans, other mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. The infectious dose is low. Chickens don't need to ingest very many to cause an infection in a healthy bird. Infected birds will shed Cryptosporidium oocysts in their feces for up to 60 days after they have recovered.
Oocysts are capable of surviving outside the chicken for long periods of time (often greater than 6 months duration) in cool, moist environments, especially water sources. Humans often become infected with Cryptosporidium through ingestion of water in public swimming pools and drinking water.
Cryptosporidium spp. can be detected sometimes in fecal tests.
Hauck, Rüdiger Interactions Between Parasites and the Bacterial Microbiota of Chickens. Avian diseases 61.4 (2017)
Samie, A., A. H. Hlungwani, and P. A. Mbati. Prevalence and risk factors of Cryptosporidium species among domestic animals in rural communities in Northern South Africa. Tropical Biomedicine 34.3 (2017)
Churria, Carlos D. Gornatti, et al. Tracheitis in a broiler chicken flock caused by dual infection with Cryptosporidium spp.(Apicomplexa: Cryptosporiidae) and non-hemolytic Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Pathology 5.2 (2017)