Foodborne illness associated with Cryptosporidium ...

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Title Foodborne illness associated with Cryptosporidium and Giardia from livestock
Author(s) Ebo Budu-Amoako, Spencer J. Greenwood, Brent R. Dixon, Herman W. Barkema, J. T. McClure
Journal Journal of Food Protection
Date 2011
Volume 74
Issue 11
Start page 1944
End page 1955
Abstract Waterborne outbreaks caused by Cryptosporidium and Giardia are well documented, while the public health implications for foodborne illness from these parasites have not been adequately considered. Cryptosporidium and Giardia are common in domestic livestock, where young animals can have a high prevalence of infection, shedding large numbers of oocysts and cysts. Molecular epidemiological studies have advanced our knowledge on the distribution of Cryptosporidium and Giardia species and genotypes in specific livestock. This has enabled better source tracking of contaminated foods. Livestock generate large volumes of fecal waste, which can contaminate the environment with (oo)cysts. Evidence suggests that livestock, particularly cattle, play a significant role in food contamination, leading to outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis. However, foodborne giardiasis seems to originate primarily from anthroponotic sources. Foodborne cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are underreported because of the limited knowledge of the zoonotic potential and public health implications. Methods more sensitive and cheaper are needed to detect the often-low numbers of (oo)cysts in contaminated food and water. As the environmental burden of Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts from livestock waste increases with the projected increase in animal agriculture, public health is further compromised. Contamination of food by livestock feces containing Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts could occur via routes that span the entire food production continuum. Intervention strategies aimed at preventing food contamination with Cryptosporidium and Giardia will require an integrated approach based on knowledge of the potential points of entry for these parasites into the food chain. This review examines the potential for foodborne illness from Cryptosporidium and Giardia from livestock sources and discusses possible mechanisms for prevention and control.

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