Hospital discharge data from 1990–4 for 26 hospitals were used to estimate and compare the cost and describe the epidemiology of severe giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis in Scotland, UK. The incidence of severe cryptosporidiosis was almost double that of severe giardiasis and the median duration of hospitalization was longer for cryptosporidiosis than giardiasis. Impaired immunity was frequently listed as co-diagnosis with cryptosporidiosis and associated with extended hospitalization. Although both infections were associated with infants, the median age was lower for cryptosporidiosis (5 years compared with 30 years). Whereas hospitalization was not significantly longer for infants with cryptosporidiosis, hospitalization for this age group with giardiasis was longer (4 days compared with 3 days). Comparison with similar data for giardiasis from USA revealed various differences and similarities. These points are discussed in relation to the epidemiology of these infections and published data were used to estimate costs of hospitalization.
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