Korean J Parasitol.  2014 Oct;52(5):479-485. 10.3347/kjp.2014.52.5.479.

Prevalence of Cryptosporidium-Associated Diarrhea in a High Altitude-Community of Saudi Arabia Detected by Conventional and Molecular Methods

  • 1Department of Medical Parasitology, NLI, Menoufia University, Shebin El-Koom, Menoufia, Egypt. yousryhawash@gmail.com
  • 2Department of Medical Laboratory Science, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia.
  • 3Department of Nursing, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia.
  • 4Department of Community Medicine, NLI, Menoufia University, Shebin El-Koom, Menoufia, Egypt.


Cryptosporidium diarrhea represents a relevant clinical problem in developing countries. In Al-Taif, a city of Saudi Arabia that lies at an altitude of an around 2 km above the sea level, Cryptosporidium infection seems to be undiagnosed in nearly all clinical laboratories. Furthermore, nothing was published regarding Cryptosporidium-associated diarrhea in this area. The objectives of this research were to (1) determine the Cryptosporidium prevalence among patients with diarrhea and (2) to estimate the performances of 3 different diagnostic methods. Total 180 diarrheal fecal samples, 1 sample per patient, were collected between January and August 2013. Samples were screened for Cryptosporidium with modified Zeihl Neelsen (ZN) microscopy, RIDA(R) Quick lateral flow (LF) immunotest, and a previously published PCR. The Cryptosporidium prevalence rate was 9.4% (17/180), 10% (18/180), and 11.6% (21/180) by microscopy, LF, and PCR test, respectively. Infection was significantly (P=0.004) predominant among children <5 years (22%) followed by children 5-9 years (11.1%). Although infection was higher in males than in females (16.2% males and 8.5% females), the difference was not statistically significant (P=0.11). Compared to PCR, the sensitivity of microscopy and the LF test were 80.9%, 85.7%, respectively. To conclude, high Cryptosporidium-associated diarrhea was found in this area especially in children < or =9 years. The PCR test showed the best performance followed by the LF test and ZN staining microscopy. The primary health care providers in Al-Taif need to be aware of and do testing for this protozoon, particularly for children seen with diarrhea.


Cryptosporidium; diarrhea; high altitude; microscopy; lateral flow test; PCR
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