Occurrence of Coccidiosis on Young Calves Less Than One Year in Sekachekorsa District, Jimma Zone Southern Ethiopia

Zakir SA, Abdo SJ and Muhidin MM

Published on: 2023-03-13


Coccidiosis Is A Protozoan Disease Caused By A Small And Single Celled Parasite Which Occurs Worldwide And Commonly Affects Cattle Under One Year Old. Cross-Sectional Study Was Conducted From November 2020 To July 2021 To Assess The Prevalence And Evaluate The Risk Factors Of Coccidiosis In Calves Aged Less Than 1 Year In Sekachekorsa District. Faecal Samples Were Collected From 384 Calves And Tested Using Centrifugal Faecal Floatation Technique To Detect Coccidian Oocyst. Analysis Was Made Using The SPSS Statistical Software. The Current Studies Revealed That, the Overall Prevalence of Coccidiosis Is 114/384 (29.7%) In The Study Area. Significant Association (P<0.05) Was Observed Between Occurrences of Coccidiosis and Age, Breed, Faecal Consistency As Well As Management System. Multivariate Logistic Regression Analysis Showed That The Risk Of Acquiring Coccidian Infection Was Significantly Higher In Calves Less Than 3 Months With (OR=1.05, 95% CI=0.51-2.15), Cross Breed Breed Calves (OR=0.34, 95% CI=0.19-0.6), Calves With Diarrheic Faecal Consistency (OR=0.09, 95% CI=0.05-0.16), Calves Kept Under Intensive Management System (OR=0.35, 95% CI=0.17-0.7). In General, Coccidiosis Is Prevalent In Sekachekorsa District, This Indicate That Coccidian Infection Has A Great Impact For The Livestock Production In The Area. Therefore, It Needs Kind Awareness Formation, A Thoughtful Treatment, Preventive And Control Platforms.


Sekachekorsa; Coccidiosis; Oocyst; Prevalence; Risk facto


Coccidiosis is most the important problem in livestock health and production throughout the tropic and subtropical countries of the world. Relatively the disease caused by protozoan can cause more economic losses than disease caused by bacteria and viruses and is one of the most important diseases of cattle in the world. Coccidian infection is caused by a small, single celled parasite that survives inside the cells of an infected cattle intestinal tract and is responsible for major economic losses in animal husbandry worldwide. Bovine coccidiosis is caused by protozoan parasite of the family Eimeriidae which commonly affects cattle less than one year, nevertheless it sporadically seen in adult cattle [1-5]. The most signs of bovine coccidiosis are chronic or subclinical since the disease is commonly a self-limiting disease. Severity and development of clinical presentation of the disease in cattle generally depends on the different factors like age, dose of oocytes ingested, type of management practice and production system, presence of concurrent infections, and innate pathogenicity of different coccidian species [6,7].Globally, about thirteen species of coccidian has been recognized in bovine. Among the species, E. bovis and E. zurnii are well-known to be extremely pathogenic, causing illness related with mucus blood stain diarrhea and even death can occur, as parasites are very specific to a particular region in the intestines. Also the other species have been shown to be slightly pathogenic, on the other hand are not considered as important pathogens. Coccidiosis most commonly spreads from one animal to another by contact with infected feces. The infection is one of the most alarming problems for animals housed or confined in small areas particularly in poorly managed calf rearing farm. Moreover, the disease can cause great economic losses particularly in calf rearing industry since the clinical disease is typically attributed to poor productivity, growth performance, costs of treatment and prevention as well as mortality. In Ethiopia the importance of bovine coccidiosis and occurrences has been reported by different researcher [7-12]. However, no study has been carried out in Sekachekorsa district to distinguish the existence of the disease in the area. Generally, sufficient data on the occurrence of calf coccidiosis is lacking. Therefore, the objectives of the study are; to estimate the prevalence of calf coccidiosis in Sekachekorsa district and to identify the risk factors related with the diseases in the area.

Materials And Methods

Study Area

The study was carried out from November 2020 to July 2021 at Sekachekorsa district neighboring of Jimma town of Jimma zone, Oromia regional state of Ethiopia. Jimma town is the largest city in southwestern Ethiopia. The town is found 352 Km away from Addis Ababa and lies between 36°50´E longitude and 7°40´N latitude at an average elevation 1750 m.a.s.l (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimma). The area experienced an annual average rainfall of 1000 mm for 8 to 10 months.  The mean annual maximum temperature ranges from 25°C-30°C and minimum 7°C-12°C and it has a sub-humid, warm to hot climate. Sekachekorsa district is also one of the districts found in Jimma zone. It is located between 36° 33 ' 53"E and 7°20' to 7° 45"N at an average elevation of 1560 to 3000 m.a.s l and found at a distance of 375 km from Addis Ababa. The climate condition is generally humid. The mean rainfall of the district is between 900 mm to 1400 mm. and the maximum and minimum temperature recorded of the area ranges 7-11 and 18-28 respectively. In general agriculture is the livelihood for more than 90% of the population in the rural farming community in and around Jimma town. The main agricultural system is mixed crop livestock production and animals are mainly produced in an extensive system. The total populations of Jimma zone were 2,486,155. From the total population in the zone (88.6%) are the rural population, which directly depends on agricultural activities. Jimma zone has an estimated of 1,718,284 heads of cattle, 466,154 sheep , 194,677 goats , 74,774 horses , 40,555 donkeys and 30,541 mules populations.

Study Animal

The study animal was calves younger than one year of age by dividing 12 month in to three groups: from birth up to 3 months, 3-6 and 6-12 months which was distinguished by the owner during the questionnaires.

Study Design and Sample Size Determination

A cross-sectional was employed in this study from November 2020 to July 2021. Simple random sampling method was used to select the calves from target population. Since there was no previous data on the prevalence of diseases in the study area, expected prevalence of coccidiosis was taken as 50% and the confidence interval choosed as 95% and precision 5%.  The sample size was determined by the formula of [14] as follows:




Data Collection

According to determined sample size, a total of 384 faecal samples collected directly from the rectum of selected calf using a sterile glove and placed into sample bottles and transported to parasitology laboratory of Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine on the same day of collection, and was kept in refrigerator at 40C until processing within 48 hours. During sampling, questionnaire data with regard to age, sex, breed, faecal consistency, management system were collected from the calf owners and analyzed to determine risk factors for occurrence of coccidiosis.

Laboratory Investigation

Laboratory investigation was conducted using qualitative fecal examination method. fecal floatation technique was used detect coccidian oocyist based on the procedure described in,as follows 3grams of faecal sample was added in 20-50 ml of water, then the mixture was strained through a tea strainer in to a beaker then into 15ml centrifuge test tube[15]. Sedimentation of the mixture was done by centrifugation at 2000 revolution per minutes for 2 minutes and then supernatant fluid was discarded. Floatation fluid (salt solution) was added into the test tube until small convex meniscus formed at the top. Then cover slip was placed on the top of the tube and allowed to stand for 10 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Finally, the cover slip was removed and putted on the slide and examined under the microscope starting with lower magnification power 4x and 10x [15].

Data Analysis

The processing of data was done by computer software. All data collected were entered into Microsoft Excel spread sheet, transferred to software SPSS version 23 and processed for analysis. Descriptive statistics were conducted to summarize the raw data. The results were presented using tables. The Chi-square test was used to evaluate the association between hypothesized risk factors and prevalence of calves coccidiosis. Further analysis of the association was made in the univariable logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the significance of the effect of different risk factors on the prevalence of calves coccidiosis. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) was used to calculate the effect of risk factors on the occurrences of calves coccidiosis infection. A 95% confidence interval and 5% was computed and results were considered significant at P < 0.05.


The current study shown that out of 384 calf fecal sample examined in study area 114 (29.7%) were positive for Eimeria species oocysts with 95% CI [25.2-34.5]. Analysis of the host related risk factors for the occurrence of coccidiosis has shown that there were significant associations (P<0.05) with age, breed, fecal consistency and management system. Although the coccidian oocyst detected on all age groups of calves, the prevalence of coccidiosis was higher in younger calves that found in the range from birth to 3 month (50.9%), the higher prevalence was verified in cross breed calves (35.2%) than in local breed calves. Also higher prevalence of coccidiosis (72.3%) was observed in calves with diarrheic faecal consistency. Moreover, the prevalence in female calves (30.6%) was higher than males (27.9%), but there was no statistically significant difference (P>0.05) between the sexes. With regards to management system, the higher prevalence of coccidiosis was observed in calves kept under intensive management system (35.5%) as than semi-intensive and extensive (34.6) and (15.5) respectively. The assessment of association between management situations of calves and prevalence of coccidiosis has shown that there was a statistically significant (P<0.05) Table 1.

Table 1: Multivariate logistic regression analysis of coccidiosis in calve in relation to host factors and management system.

Risk factor

Number of calves examined

Number of positive cases

Prevalence %

Adjusted OR

95% CI









<3 months







3-6 months







6-12 months






































































Faecal consistency








































































The result of the current study conducted in Sekachekorsa district showed an overall prevalence 29.7% coccidian infection in calves. The 29.7% prevalence of coccidiosis in this study is in agreement with 30.7% in [2] and 31.9% in [7]. However, the result of the present study is lower than results recorded 57.2% in [16], 72.7% in Mekelle by [17] and 62.5% in Asella by [18]. But the result the present study was higher than reports of in Bahir Dar (20.1%) by [19], in South Wollo (24.3%) by [20] and in Holeta (26.04%) by [21]. This difference is probably owing to the variances in husbandry practices, management system and agro-ecology of different study areas, as well as sample size is the other factor for this variation. 

In the current study, significantly a higher prevalence (50.9%) was observed in calves <3 months as compared to calves between 3 to 6 months (15.8%) and 6 to 12 months (14.6%). This is in agreement with several international studies that stated younger animals were more vulnerable for coccidian infection as compared to adults [22,23,10,13,17].This higher prevalence in younger calves might be due to the stress factors such as change of diet and stress-induced by immune suppression and low resistance to the infection owing to presence of immature immune system can increase the occurrence of the disease.

The sex wise prevalence of coccidia infection was statistically not significant (P>0.05). This was similar with the previous finding of [16,7]. In this study absence of statistically significant association between the sexes of the study calves might be due to equal probability of accessing the oocysts with the fact that different sex groups kept in parallel management system might have equal chance of being infected with coccidiosis.

In current study the prevalence of coccidiosis in cross breed calves was significantly higher 35.2% when compared to local breed calves 15.5%.  This is might be attributed to chance of accidentally acquiring more oocysts and higher difference on defensive mechanism for the coccidia infection. This finding is in line with [18] reported higher prevalence of coccidiosis in cross breed calves in Asela town, southeast Ethiopia. In the current study, statistically significant association (P<0.005) was observed between fecal consistency and occurrence of coccidiosis, calves with diarrhea have a higher prevalence (72.3%) as compared to calves with soft and normal fecal consistency (57.9%) and (9.2%) respectively. This is in line with the finding of [13,7]. This is due to the significant damages occurred in the wall of intestinal tract and resulted to inability of intestinal lining to engross nutrient and fluid, consequently it released in the form of diarrhea.

The association between prevalence of coccidian infection and different management system in this study is statistically significant (P<0.005). This is consistent with the study of [18,17] who reported significantly a higher infection rate in an intensive production system as compared to semi-intensive and extensive. This higher prevalence in an intensive management system may be due to stress incurred by over flocking a high number of animal’s in home and poor hygienic condition which probably increase the degree of contact between calves’ and easy of’ Oocysts contamination of pen and other fomites.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The present study revealed that coccidiosis is an important health problem of calves in Sekachekorsa district, Jimma zone southwest Ethiopia with the overall prevalence of 29.7% (114/384). In the current study, young age or <3 months, cross breed type, diarrheic fecal consistency and intensive management system has significant association (P<0.05) with occurrence of coccidiosis in calves. However, the disease has no significant association with sex of examined calves in the study. In general age, breed, faecal consistency of calves and management system were identified as most important risk factors which had a significant association with the occurrences of coccidiosis in calves in the study area. Since, the disease causes illness on the animal and consequent reduction in production as well as losses in economy, these results show coccidiosis has a great significance for the livestock producer in the study area.

Therefore, based on the above conclusion, the following recommendations are suggested:

  • Coccidiostats have to be used in ration early for prevention
  • Every stressful condition which provokes incidences the infection must be avoided.
  • it needs to apply strict control and prevention platforms
  • Calves with severe diarrhea should be isolated and treated with suitable drugs to avoid premise contamination and more infection.
  • Methods that can reduce the extent of fecal contamination of feed and water troughs should be adapted frequently.
  • Further epidemiological investigations should be carried out to conclude the coccidian parasite species structure and their economic impact.


The authors are thankful to JUCAVM, farmers, and enumerators for their time and cooperation during field data collection.

Authors’ Contributions

Sadik Zakir generated the proposal and paper write up and analyzed data.  Sufian Abdo supervised the research work participated and data analysis, Miftah Muhidin has taken part in the edition of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript and conceived the study.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Clearance

Ethical clearance was obtained from the Institutional Review Board of Jimma University, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. Furthermore, verbal informed consent was obtained from farm owners and household individuals participated in the study, after explaining the purpose of the study in their local language (Afan Oromo).


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