The aim of this study was to assess the occurrence of Cryptosporidium in domestic animals in rural properties surrounding rain forest fragments within the municipality of Teodoro Sampaio, southeastern Brazil. Conventional sucrose flotation method followed by molecular characterization of the parasites by sequencing PCR products amplified from SSU rRNA gene were used. Stool samples were collected from domestic animals raised as pets and livestock in all rural properties surrounding three forest fragments. Samples from cattle (197), equine (63), pigs (25), sheep (11), and dogs (28) were collected from 98 rural properties. The frequency of occurrence of Cryptosporidium within each animal species was 3.0% (6/197) among cattle and 10.7% (3/28) among dogs. Cryptosporidium was not detected in stool samples from equine, sheep, and pigs. All sequences obtained from the six samples of calves showed molecular identity with Cryptosporidium andersoni while all sequences from dog samples were similar to C. canis. The frequency of occurrence of Cryptosporidium in these domestic animal species was low. The absence of C. parvum in the present study suggests that the zoonotic cycle of cryptosporidiosis may not be relevant in the region studied. The presence of Cryptosporidium species seldom described in humans may be, otherwise, important for the wild fauna as these animals are a source of infection and dissemination of this protozoan to other animal species. The impact and magnitude of infection by C. andersoni in wild ruminants and C. canis in wild canids have to be assessed in future studies to better understand the actual importance of these species in this region.
Cryptosporidiosis; molecular characterization; SSU rRNA; Atlantic Dry Forest; domestic animals