A whole water catchment approach to investigating the origin and distribution of Cryptosporidium species

G. Robinson, R.M. Chalmers, C. Stapleton, S.R. Palmer, J. Watkins, C. Francis, D. Kay

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53 Citations (SciVal)


Aims:  Investigating the distribution and origin of Cryptosporidium species in a water catchment affected by destocking and restocking of livestock as a result of a foot and mouth disease epidemic.
Methods and Results:  Surface water, livestock and wildlife samples were screened for Cryptosporidium and oocysts characterised by sequencing SSU rRNA and COWP loci, and fragment analysis of ML1, ML2 and GP60 microsatellite loci. Oocyst concentrations in water samples (0–20·29 per 10 l) were related to rainfall events, amount of rainfall and topography. There was no detectable impact from catchment restocking. Cryptosporidium spp. found in water were indicative of livestock (Cryptosporidium andersoni and Cryptosporidium parvum) and wildlife (novel genotypes) sources. However, C. andersoni was not found in any animals sampled. Calf infections were age related; C. parvum was significantly more common in younger animals (<4 weeks old). Older calves shared Cryptosporidium bovis, Cryptosporidium ryanae and C. parvum. Wildlife shed C. parvum, Cryptosporidium ubiquitum, muskrat genotype II and deer genotype.
Conclusions:  Several factors affect the occurrence of Cryptosporidium within a catchment. In addition to farmed and wild animal hosts, topography and rainfall patterns are particularly important.
Significance and Impact of the Study:  These factors must be considered when undertaking risk-based water safety plans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-730
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number3
Early online date15 Aug 2011
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2011


  • catchment
  • Cryptosporidium
  • livestock
  • molecular characterisation
  • rainfall
  • water
  • wildlife


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