Though Eimeria is an important parasite of cattle, research is lacking on how the parasite persist in the pasture soils. In this study, feces samples were collected from three pastures in June and October 2010 and soil samples in April 2011. Coordinates of sampling locations were recorded with Global Positioning System together with information about grass cover, shade, and elevation. All soil samples were collected from the same locations as the fecal samples and used in model evaluating the possible factors influencing the concentration of oocysts in the soil. Feces and soil samples were investigated using a quantitative flotation technique. Eimeria oocysts were found in 95.6% of fecal samples collected in summer and 84.5% of samples in fall. In contrast, the same locations soil samples were positive for Eimeria oocysts in 37.3% (summer) and 44.3% (fall). Despite larger numbers of oocysts in fecal samples shed during summer compared to fall, there was no difference in the concentration of oocysts in soil samples the following spring. The odds of higher numbers of oocysts in soil samples in spring were higher if fecal samples collected in summer were in shade or if containing Eimeria alabamensis during the fall. Factors other than the concentrations of oocysts shed in feces appear to affect whether oocysts persist between grazing seasons.
Lassen B, Lepik T, Järvis T. Seasonal recovery of Eimeria oocysts from soil on naturally contaminated pastures. Parasitol Res. 2014 Mar;113(3):993-9. doi: 10.1007/s00436-013-3731-6. Epub 2013 Dec 12.