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Cryptosporidium Contamination in Harvesting Areas of Bivalve Molluscs

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Cryptosporidium contamination was evaluated in areas in Galicia (northwestern Spain) where bivalve molluscs are harvested. Galicia is the main mussel-producing region in Europe. Data were collected on water contamination of effluents that are discharged into these areas. Cryptosporidium spp. were detected by immunofluorescence microscopy and molecular methods in 71% of the river water samples (n = 7), 64% of raw sewage samples (n = 11), 50% of effluents from wastewater treatment plants (n = 16), and 29.3% of the mussel samples (Mytilus galloprovincialis, n = 184). Cryptosporidium parvum was identified in all samples of contaminated mussels, Cryptosporidium muris was found in three samples of effluent from wastewater treatment plants, and Cryptosporidium baileyi was found in a sample of raw sewage. Further studies are needed to determine the parasitological quality of water in these shellfish harvesting and recreational areas. Cryptosporidium could be a public health risk from consumption of raw or undercooked contaminated molluscs and use of contaminated waters for recreational purposes.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratorio de Parasitología, Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Spain 2: Laboratorio de Parasitología, Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Spain; Instituto de Acuicultura, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, La Coruña, Spain

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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