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Considering the Risk of Infection by Cryptosporidium via Consumption of Municipally Treated Drinking Water from a Surface Water Source in a Southwestern Ontario Community

Authors

  • K. D. M. Pintar,

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    • Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Public Health Agency of Canada, Guelph, ON, Canada.

    • Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

  • A. Fazil,

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    • Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Public Health Agency of Canada, Guelph, ON, Canada.

    • Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

  • F. Pollari,

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    • Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

    • Center for Food-borne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Public Health Agency of Canada, Guelph, ON, Canada.

  • D. Waltner-Toews,

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    • Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

  • D. F. Charron,

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    • Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

    • International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, ON, Canada.

  • S. A. McEwen,

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    • Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

  • T. Walton

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    • Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.


Katarina D. M. Pintar, Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Public Health Agency of Canada, 255 Woodlawn Rd. W., Guelph, ON N1H 8J1, Canada; tel: 519-826-2352; fax: 519-826-2244; Katarina.pintar@phac-aspc.gc.ca.

Abstract

Through the use of case-control analyses and quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA), relative risks of transmission of cryptosporidiosis have been evaluated (recreational water exposure vs. drinking water consumption) for a Canadian community with higher than national rates of cryptosporidiosis. A QMRA was developed to assess the risk of Cryptosporidium infection through the consumption of municipally treated drinking water. Simulations were based on site-specific surface water contamination levels and drinking water treatment log10 reduction capacity for Cryptosporidium. Results suggested that the risk of Cryptosporidium infection via drinking water in the study community, assuming routine operation of the water treatment plant, was negligible (6 infections per 1013 persons per day—5th percentile: 2 infections per 1015 persons per day; 95th percentile: 3 infections per 1012 persons per day). The risk is essentially nonexistent during optimized, routine treatment operations. The study community achieves between 7 and 9 log10Cryptosporidium oocyst reduction through routine water treatment processes. Although these results do not preclude the need for constant vigilance by both water treatment and public health professionals in this community, they suggest that the cause of higher rates of cryptosporidiosis are more likely due to recreational water contact, or perhaps direct animal contact. QMRA can be successfully applied at the community level to identify data gaps, rank relative public health risks, and forecast future risk scenarios. It is most useful when performed in a collaborative way with local stakeholders, from beginning to end of the risk analysis paradigm.

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