The present study was conducted to investigate the prevalence of Cryptosporidium sp. in children attending the laboratories of maternity and pediatrics general hospital in Al-Hilla City of Babylon province for the period from September 2010 to May 2011. The age groups of children ranged from less than 6 months to 5 years old. The study was also extended to show the in vivo effect of six plant extracts on the parasite in experimentally infected Balbc mice. The study was carried out on 605 fecal samples (318 males and 287 females). Detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts was done by modified Ziehl-Neelsen methods. The rate of Cryptosporidium infection (9.42%) does not vary with host gender. The highest rates of infection were among age groups more than six months to more than one year old. The infection rate was highest in September (23.75%) followed by March (13.75%) and November (10.3%) and the lowest was in January (4.54%). The effect of six plant extracts on the shedding of oocysts in experimental mice was well illustrated where there was a marked decrease of the shedding of Cryptosporidium oocysts in mice by using 250 mg / kg body weight. It was shown that Peganum harmala (68.6%) showed highest anthelmintic activity followed by Artemesia herba alba (60.0%), Ricinus communis (36.8%), while Allium sativum and Thymus vulgaris show the lowest activity 18.6% and 20.5%, respectively. It was also shown that the efficacy of plant extracts at a dose of 500 mg/kg body weight was higher than 250 mg / kg BW in shedding of the parasite oocysts.
Cryptosporidium sp., Treatment, Plant extracts.