State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2009ND183B
Title: Source tracking of Cryptosporidium in rural watersheds
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/29/2012
Congressional District: 1
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Surface Water, Non Point Pollution
Keywords: Cryptosporidium, Rural Watersheds, Source tracking, Surface water quality
Principal Investigators: McEvoy, John; Clark, Mark
Federal Funds: $ 12,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 24,000
Abstract: The Upper Midwest has among the highest incidences of human cryptosporidiosis in the U.S. There is therefore a critical need to determine Cryptosporidium sources and transmission dynamics in this region. One of our previous studies has shown that most human cryptosporidiosis in the region is caused by C. parvum, a species associated with humans and cattle. However, the traditional model, describing Cryptosporidium movement from livestock to humans via water, appears over simplistic in light of recent evidence of wildlife sources of contamination. Cryptosporidium species associated with wildlife are not human pathogens and are not a public health threat. To better understand the human health significance of Cryptosporidium in rural watersheds, we need to determine the source of the contamination. This will be addressed by quantifying the impact of the wildlife and cattle sources in rural watersheds in the region. Objectives are to determine the extent of Cryptosporidium host adaptation and co-evolution with hosts, and to determine the factors influencing the contributions of cattle and wildlife to Cryptosporidium in rivers. With the successful completion of objective 1, it is expected to find that the prevalence of different wildlife and cattle associated Cryptosporidium species will be dependent on host abundance, prevalence of the parasite in the host population, and the number of oocysts being shed. As host numbers and parasite shedding rates fluctuate throughout the year, we expect to observe corresponding changes in the numbers and prevalence of Cryptosporidium in river samples.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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