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Parasitology. 2009 Apr;136(4):393-9. doi: 10.1017/S0031182009005563. Epub 2009 Feb 6.

Excystation of Cryptosporidium parvum at temperatures that are reached during solar water disinfection.

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Laboratorio de Parasitología, Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Campus Universitario Sur, 15782 Santiago de Compostela (La Coruña), Spain.


Species belonging to the genera Cryptosporidium are recognized as waterborne pathogens. Solar water disinfection (SODIS) is a simple method that involves the use of solar radiation to destroy pathogenic microorganisms that cause waterborne diseases. A notable increase in water temperature and the existence of a large number of empty or partially excysted (i.e. unviable) oocysts have been observed in previous SODIS studies with water experimentally contaminated with Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts under field conditions. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of the temperatures that can be reached during exposure of water samples to natural sunlight (37-50 degrees C), on the excystation of C. parvum in the absence of other stimuli. In samples exposed to 40-48 degrees C, a gradual increase in the percentage of excystation was observed as the time of exposure increased and a maximum of 53.81% of excystation was obtained on exposure of the water to a temperature of 46 degrees C for 12 h (versus 8.80% initial isolate). Under such conditions, the oocyst infectivity evaluated in a neonatal murine model decreased statistically with respect to the initial isolate (19.38% versus 100%). The results demonstrate the important effect of the temperature on the excystation of C. parvum and therefore on its viability and infectivity.

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