From Water Contamination Emergencies: Can We Cope?
D E Huffman,
College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, 140 7 th Ave.
South St. Petersburg, Florida USA

1 INTRODUCTION

It has been 10 years since the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin's drinking water became contaminated with the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum. This single drinking water outbreak would become the focal point of hundreds of research studies focusing on the cause of this outbreak as well as methods for the prevention of future outbreaks of this magnitude. Could this outbreak have been prevented and what have we learned over the last decade with regard to Cryptosporidium parvum?

2 CRYPTOSPORIDIUM

If we begin with the basic biology of this organism, Cryptosporidium parvum belongs to the phylum Apicomplexa (referred to as the Sporozoa) and is one of approximately 5,000 species. It is a coccidian parasite that infects the gastrointestinal tract and has become one of the most important enteric pathogens in both humans and animals. The parasite was first described in 1907 by Tyzzer [1], but over the last two decades there has been an escalation of published material on the biology, genomic characterization, taxonomy, transmission, detection and public health risks associated with this organism. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] There are currently ten recognized species within the genus Cryptosporidium, namely, C. baileyi and C. meleagridis found in birds, C. felis found in cats, C. muris found predominately in mice, and C. wrairi in guinea pigs, C. andersoni in...

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