Cryptosporidiosis is a major cause of diarrhoea, weight loss and low productivity in various domestic animals. The acid-fast staining method used to detect the parasite in cattle may be responsible for the low prevalence rates recorded in previous studies in Nigeria. A comparison of the efficacy of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and acid-fast staining techniques in detecting Cryptosporidium spp. in bovine faeces was carried out in this work. A total of 200 faecal samples were collected from cattle of different age groups by the use of a simple random sampling technique. The samples were analyzed microscopically using formalin-ethylacetate sedimentation method followed by modified Kinyoun’s acid-fast staining technique. All the samples were later tested for Cryptosporidium coproantigens by the use of a commercially available ELISA test kit. Microscopy detected Cryptosporidium oocysts in 24.0% while ELISA detected the antigens in 37.5% of the samples. The ELISA, with a sensitivity and specificity of 72.9% and 73.7% respectively, had a significantly higher (p<0.05) rate of detection of Cryptosporidium spp. than microscopy with a sensitivity and specificity of 46.7% and 89.6% respectively. The ELISA is therefore a preferable method than microscopy for detection of Cryptosporidium in faecal specimens and will be useful in routine diagnosis and screening of large number of samples in epidemiological surveys


Acid-fast staining, Bovine, Cryptosporidium, ELISA.

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