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Environ Res. 2000 Mar;82(3):263-71.

Environmental and geographical factors contributing to watershed contamination with Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Cryptosporidium parvum is a waterborne parasite which infects cattle and produces life-threatening zoonosis in people with impaired immune systems. Digital maps of 100-year floodplain boundaries, land use/cover, and livestock operations were used to select and characterize cattle farms in the floodplain area in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Over 21% of the cattle farms were located within 100-year floodplain boundaries. On average, a single farm comprised 12.8 ha of pasture (including buildings and farmyard) at risk of inundation. In all farms cattle had unlimited access to the creek. Manure samples collected from closed-in calf pens, cow/heifer yard runoff, and cattle paths through the creek were tested for C. parvum. On 64% of the farms (n=50) at least one sample was positive for C. parvum, and 44% of the farms had oocysts in all manure samples. Concentration varied from 90 to 371 oocysts/g and was significantly higher (P<0.02) in calf samples than in manure from cow and cow/heifer.

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