Serological evaluation of Cryptosporidium oocyst findings in the water supply for Sydney, Australia
From July to September, 1998, high levels of Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts were detected in Sydney, Australia drinking water. To evaluate whether Sydney residents had an elevated risk of infection, serological responses to two Cryptosporidium antigen groups (15/17- and 27-kDa) were compared for 104 Sydney blood donors and 104 Melbourne blood donors. Over half of all donors had a detectable response to the 15/17-kDa antigen group (Sydney-56.7%, Melbourne-61.5%) and to the 27-kDa antigen group (Sydney-66.3%, Melbourne-77.9%). There were no statistically significant differences between Sydney and Melbourne donors in the intensity of serological responses for either the 15/17-kDa (p = 0.81) or the 27-kDa (p = 0.45) antigen groups. These results are not consistent with an elevated risk of Cryptosporidium infection among either Sydney or Melbourne blood donors, despite the detection of oocysts in the Sydney drinking water. Given the public health concerns over detecting oocysts in drinking water, serological studies offer a rapid and inexpensive method for comparing the levels of infection in an exposed and unexposed population.
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