African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12483

Full Length Research Paper

Frequency of cryptosporidium infection in children under five years of age having diarrhea in the North West of Pakistan

Shahina Mumtaz, Jawad Ahmed* and Liaqat Ali
Department of Pathology, Khyber Medical College, Peshawar, Pakistan.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 11 December 2009
  •  Published: 22 February 2010



Cryptosporidium species are minute, coccidian protozoan parasites that have been associated with enterocolitis. It has worldwide distribution and has emerged as an important cause of diarrhea, particularly in children less than 5 years of age and in immunocompromised individuals. Waterborne transmission is particularly troublesome because Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts are not eliminated by chlorination or domestic disinfectants. In the present study, single stool specimens from young children (< 5 years) presented with diarrhea were collected in Khyber teaching hospital, Peshawar, Pakistan. Wet mount preparation and modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining were used for identification of oocysts in stool specimens.Cryptosporidium oocysts were found in 18 (9.0%) out of 200 children suffering from diarrhea. Infection was common in children between 1 - 24 months of age and associated with abdominal cramps (50%), vomiting (61.1%) and prolonged duration of diarrhea (88.9%). Direct and indirect contact with animals was present in most ofC. parvum infected children (83.3%). Most of C. parvum infected children were consumers of well water (77.8%). Cryptosporidium spp. are highly infectious causes of diarrheal illness around the world. It is an important cause of diarrhea in children. Clinician and laboratories should be encouraged to include C. parvumdiagnostic techniques while dealing with diarrheal stool samples of young children.


Key words: Cryptosporidium parvum, cryptosporidiosis, modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining, immunocompromised, immunocompetent, diarrhea, Pakistan.