The parasite Cryptosporidium parvum is a zoonotic pathogen that can be spread between animals and humans causing disease.
It is one of the most frequently diagnosed diarrhoea causing pathogens in young calves in the UK, as well as one of the top four pathogens causing diarrhoea in young children in developing countries globally, where it has been related to longer term problems with growth and development.
A recent study at Moredun has shown that calves suffering from cryptosporidiosis in the first few weeks of life are lighter than their healthy herd mates at 6 months old, at which point the average weight difference was shown to be 34kg, representing a production loss of around £130 per infected calf.
Infected calves will shed millions of parasite eggs in their faeces and these eggs can survive in the environment for long periods of time being a source of infection for other calves and also to people. It is clear then that controlling this parasite is important not only in terms of animal health, welfare and production efficiency, but in public health as well.
Moredun have produced a short animation in collaboration with animator Selina Wagner of Ping Creates to join the others in their successful series, outlining the management tools available to farmers to help control Cryptosporidium on farm, which also have the benefits of reducing the amount of the parasite in the environment and the risk to human health.
Dr Beth Wells, Knowledge Exchange Specialist at Moredun, commented:
“Cryptosporidiosis is a serious problem in beef and dairy herds, causing calf health and welfare issues. This disease requires particular management practices to control it, which the animation explores alongside outlining the benefits of a One Health approach. This interaction of veterinary, public and environmental health ensures that we are all working together for the health of our animal and human population, as well as maintaining a safer environment.“
The animation, which was funded by the Moredun Foundation and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is informative and fun to watch and can be viewed at: https://www.moredun.org.uk/foundation/outreach/animation-series.
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