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J Appl Microbiol. 2005;98(5):1221-9.

Genotypes of Cryptosporidium from Sydney water catchment areas.

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Division of Health Sciences, School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA, Australia.



Currently cryptosporidiosis represents the major public health concern of water utilities in developed nations and increasingly, new species and genotypes of Cryptosporidium are being identified in which the infectivity for humans is not clear. The complicated epidemiology of Cryptosporidium and the fact that the majority of species and genotypes of Cryptosporidium cannot be distinguished morphologically makes the assessment of public health risk difficult if oocysts are detected in the raw water supplies. The aim of this study was to use molecular tools to identify sources of Cryptosporidium from the Warragamba catchment area of Sydney, Australia.


Both faecal and water samples from the catchment area were collected and screened using immunomagnetic separation (IMS) and immunofluorescence microscopy. Samples that contained Cryptosporidium oocysts were genotyped using sequence and phylogenetic analysis of the 18S rDNA, and the heat-shock (HSP-70) gene. Analysis identified five Cryptosporidium species/genotypes including C. parvum (cattle genotype), C. suis, pig genotype II, the cervid genotype and a novel goat genotype.


Monitoring and characterization of the sources of oocyst contamination in watersheds will aid in the development and implementation of the most appropriate watershed management policies to protect the public from the risks of waterborne Cryptosporidium.


This study has shown that quantification by IMS analysis can be combined with the specificity of genotyping to provide an extremely valuable tool for assessing the human health risks from land use activities in drinking water catchments.

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