a1 Division of Environmental Health, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
a2 Scottish Parasite Diagnostic Laboratory, Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, UK
a3 Department of Environmental Health, Polytechnic, University of Malawi, P/B 303, Blantyre, Malawi
We determined the incidence of cryptosporidiosis in children aged <5 years presenting with diarrhoea in an urban and rural hospital-based setting in Malawi. Stools were collected over a 22-month period during both rainy and dry seasons. A range of microscopic methods were used to determine the presence of Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts. Species determination was by polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR–RFLP) of oocyst-extracted DNA using 18S rRNA and COWP gene loci. Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts were seen in 5·9% (50/848) of samples, of which 43 amplified by PCR–RFLP indicated the following species: C. hominis, C. parvum, C. hominis/C. parvum, C. meleagridis and C. andersoni. Seven samples could not be amplified by PCR. Wider species diversity was found in the rural setting, and may be a result of increased malnutrition and zoonotic exposure in this area. Improvements in water, sanitation, household hygiene and animal control are required to reduce the incidence of infection in this population.
(Accepted November 08 2006)
(Online publication January 15 2007)