Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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To improve understanding of the aetiology and epidemiology of human cryptosporidiosis, over 8,000 Cryptosporidium isolates were submitted for typing to the species level over a four year period. The majority were either Cryptosporidium parvum (45.9%) or Cryptosporidium hominis (49.2%). Dual infection occurred in 40 (0.5%) cases and six other known Cryptosporidium species or genotypes were found in 67 (0.9%) cases. These were Cryptosporidium meleagridis, Cryptosporidium felis, Cryptosporidium canis, and the Cryptosporidium cervine, horse and skunk genotypes. The remaining 3.5% were not typable. Epidemiology differed between infecting species. C. parvum cases were younger, although C. hominis was more prevalent in infants under one year and in females aged 15 to 44 years. Spring peaks in cases reported to national surveillance were due to C. parvum, while C. hominis was more prevalent during the late summer and early autumn as well as in patients reporting recent foreign travel. Temporal and geographical differences were observed and a decline in C. parvum cases persisted from 2001. Typing of isolates allowed outbreaks to be more clearly delineated, and demonstrated anthroponotic spread of C. parvum as well as C. hominis. Our findings suggest that national surveillance for Cryptosporidium should be conducted at the species level.


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