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Application of Monitoring Data forGiardia andCryptosporidium to Boil Water Advisories

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Despite the problems associated with analyzing water samples forGiardia cysts andCryptosporidium oocysts, the data can be very useful if their strengths and weaknesses are understood. Two municipalities in northern Ontario, Temagami and Thunder Bay, both issued boil water advisories forGiardia contamination. Data from these two cities are compared to show that only one municipality experienced a real outbreak, whereas the other did not. The concentration ofGiardia cysts was much higher than background during the outbreak at Temagami, and the postoutbreak concentrations of cysts were very similar to the long-term average cyst concentration at Thunder Bay. The waterborne outbreak of giardiasis at Temagami was characterized by consistent positive results from water samples, concentrations two to three orders of magnitude higher than normal, and an obvious increase in the number of cases of giardiasis in the population. No outbreak was experienced at Thunder Bay, but a boil water advisory (BWA) was set in place for more than a year on the basis of a single sample from Loch Lomond in which only two cysts were detected but the sample equivalent volume was low. This gave the impression of a sudden increase in concentration, but 39 of 41 subsequent samples were negative. Additional factors that led to a BWA at Thunder Bay are described, and recommendations are presented to help determine when a BWA is necessary and when it should be rescinded.
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Keywords: Cryptosporidium; Giardia; Risk analysis; boil water advisory; monitoring; waterborne giardiasis

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Hyperion Research Ltd., Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada., 2: City of Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada., 3: Azimuth Environmental Consulting Inc., Ontario, Canada., 4: Department of Psychology, Lakehead University, Ontario, Canada.

Publication date: 2001-12-01

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