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Epidemiol Infect. 2001 Dec;127(3):545-53.

PCR-IMS detection and molecular typing of Cryptosporidium parvum recovered from a recreational river source and an associated mussel (Mytilus edulis) bed in Northern Ireland.

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School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, County Derry, Northern Ireland.


PCR-IMS was used to detect Cryptosporidium spp. in environmental water samples in Northern Ireland which had previously tested negative by a conventional IFA staining method. Oocysts of C. parvum detected in river water and final treated sewage effluent collected from various sites along the river Lagan were identified as genotype 2 (animal origin) based on polymorphisms observed at the thrombospondin related adhesion protein gene locus. Similarly, genotype 1 (human origin) oocysts of C. parvum were detected in the marine filter feeder mussel, Mytilus edulis, collected from the shores of Belfast Lough. Detection of the human genotype of Cryptosporidium in mussels destined for human consumption identifies the organism's serious potential as a foodborne pathogen. This work highlights the possible value of monitoring filter feeder systems, in conjunction with specific molecular epidemiological tools, as an alternative monitoring system for the parasite within the aquatic environment.

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