Project Number # 1068
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Background and Relevance
Currently, the protozoan parasites, Cryptosporidium and Giardia represent the major public health concern of water utilities in developed nations and were the etiological agents in 60.3% (120) and 35.2% (70) respectively of reported outbreaks worldwide between 2004 and 2010. In Australia, marsupials, cattle and sheep are the dominant animals inhabiting water catchment areas and contribute a large volume of manure to catchments. Cryptosporidium fayeri, one of the main species identified in marsupials, was identified in a 29-year-old woman in Sydney in 2009 with identical subtypes found in marsupials in the area. There have also been reports of C. parvum and C. hominis (the most common species found in humans), in kangaroos, a wallaby, possums and bandicoots by independent groups, as well as high prevalence’s of zoonotic genotypes of Giardia in marsupials, which warrants further investigation.
Conclusive molecular evidence linking contamination of water supplies by sheep or cattle with outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis in human populations is scant, however several studies have strongly linked outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis with sheep and cattle grazing near the implicated reservoir, catchment or river.