Risk Analysis

Cryptosporidium and Dairy Cattle in the Catskill/Delaware Watershed: A Quantitative Risk Assessment

Journal Article

We carried out a study to estimate the public health risk posed by dairy cattle located in New York City's Catskill/Delaware watershed, as measured by daily C. parvum‐like oocyst loading. A Monte Carlo simulation model that takes into account the nature of the dairy cattle population within the target area, age‐specific incidence/prevalence rates, as well as differential fecal production and oocyst‐shedding intensity rates was used to address the objectives. Additionally, the model was designed to distinguish between zoonotic and nonzoonotic species/genotypes of Cryptosporidium. Total estimated daily C. parvum‐like oocyst shedding across all age/production categories was estimated at 4.15 × 1010. The zoonotic C. parvum comprised 93.5% of this load. It was estimated that preweaned calves produce 99.5% of the total daily C. parvum ocyst burden. The recently described nonzoonotic C. bovis was estimated to have a daily load of 2.2 × 109 oocysts across all age/production strata. C. parvum deer‐like genotype was estimated to have a total daily load of 1.3 × 109 oocysts. The results of this study support earlier assertions that strategies aimed at reducing the cryptosporidial risk posed by dairy cattle to public health will be most efficacious if aimed at preweaned calves.

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