A study was conducted to identify factors associated with the likelihood of detecting Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp. in the soil of dairy farms in a watershed area. A total of 37 farms were visited, and 782 soil samples were collected from targeted areas on these farms. The samples were analyzed for the presence of Cryptosporidium spp. oocysts, Giardia spp. cysts, percent moisture content, and pH. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors associated with the likelihood of the presence of these organisms. The use of the land at the sampling site was associated with the likelihood of environmental contamination with Cryptosporidium spp. Barn cleaner equipment area and agricultural fields were associated with increased likelihood of environmental contamination with Cryptosporidium spp. The risk of environmental contamination decreased with the pH of the soil and with the score of the potential likelihood of Cryptosporidium spp. The size of the sampling site, as determined by the sampling design, in square feet, was associated nonlinearly with the risk of detecting Cryptosporidium spp. The likelihood of the Giardia cyst in the soil increased with the prevalence of Giardia spp. in animals (i.e., 18 to 39%). As the size of the farm increased, there was decreased risk of Giardia spp. in the soil, and sampling sites which were covered with brush or bare soil showed a decrease in likelihood of detecting Giardia spp. when compared to land which had managed grass. The number of cattle on the farm less than 6 mo of age was negatively associated with the risk of detecting Giardia spp. in the soil, and the percent moisture content was positively associated with the risk of detecting Giardia spp. Our study showed that these two protozoan exist in dairy farm soil at different rates, and this risk could be modified by manipulating the pH of the soil.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology