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Multiple risk factors associated with a large statewide increase in cryptosporidiosis

  • A. L. VALDERRAMA (a1) (a2), M. C. HLAVSA (a3), A. CRONQUIST (a4), S. COSGROVE (a4), S. P. JOHNSTON (a3), J. M. ROBERTS (a3), M. L. STOCK (a5), L. XIAO (a3), K. XAVIER (a4) and M. J. BEACH (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 27 May 2009

Cryptosporidium species have emerged as a major cause of outbreaks of diarrhoea and have been associated with consumption of contaminated recreational and drinking water and food as well as contact with infected attendees of child-care programmes. In August 2007, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment detected an increase in cryptosporidiosis cases over baseline values. We conducted a case-control study to assess risk factors for infection and collected stool specimens from ill persons for microscopy and molecular analysis. Laboratory-confirmed cases (n=47) were more likely to have swallowed untreated water from a lake, river, or stream [adjusted matched odds ratio (aOR) 8·0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·3–48·1], have had exposure to recreational water (aOR 4·6, 95% CI 1·4–14·6), or have had contact with a child in a child-care programme or in diapers (aOR 3·8, 95% CI 1·5–9·6). Although exposure to recreational water is commonly implicated in summertime cryptosporidiosis outbreaks, this study demonstrates that investigations of increased incidence of cases in summer should also examine other potential risk factors. This study emphasizes the need for public health education efforts that address the multiple transmission routes for Cryptosporidium and appropriate prevention measures to avoid future transmission.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: A. L. Valderrama, Ph.D., R.N., National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 4770 Buford Hwy, NE, Atlanta, GA 30341, MS K-47. (Email:
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