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Microb Ecol. 2006 Nov;52(4):597-602. Epub 2006 Nov 3.

Fate of Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts in the Norwegian aquatic environment over winter.

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Parasitology Laboratory, Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, PO Box 8146 Dep, 0033 Oslo, Norway.


We investigated the survival of Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts during winter in an aquatic environment (approximate temperature measurements between 1 and 7 degrees C) in Norway, using morphology and uptake of dyes as indicators of viability. Previous research has shown that in the terrestrial environment, shear forces caused by freeze and thaw cycles probably cause the parasites to be inactivated. Such forces occurred infrequently in the aquatic environment, as freezing of the water around the parasites was not observed during the study period (although freezing of the water surface did occur). The rate of decline in viability (log(10) N (t)/N (0)) was similar in control and experimental environments for both parasites; no Cryptosporidium oocysts with viable morphology were detected after approximately 20 weeks and no Giardia cysts with apparently viable morphology could be detected after 1 month. These results suggest that infection with these parasites in Norway is not usually from transmission stages that have over-wintered in the Norwegian environment.

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