Investigating a Waterborne Outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis; Ireland

Mahon M, Doyle S. Waterborne outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in the South East of Ireland: weighing up the evidence. Ir J Med Sci. 2017 Jan 13. doi: 10.1007/s11845-016-1552-1.

BACKGROUND: In late Spring 2012, 12 cases of cryptosporidiosis in a town in the South East of Ireland were notified to the regional Department of Public Health.

AIM: The purpose of this paper is to describe the outbreak and the investigative process which led to the conclusion that the source was a public drinking water supply.

METHODS: Outbreak and incident control teams were convened to investigate and control the outbreak.

RESULTS: Eleven cases were speciated as Cryptosporidium parvum. GP60 analysis demonstrated that 10 were C. parvum IIaA20G3R1, indicating that the cases were linked. The public water supply was the only common risk factor identified. Increased water sampling identified Cryptosporidium muris/andersoni in the treated water at one of two water treatment plants (Water Treatment Plant, WTP A) for the supply, and on the network. C. parvum was subsequently identified in raw water from WTP A.

CONCLUSIONS: The Health Service Executive (HSE) concluded that this outbreak was “probably associated with water” produced at WTP A based on (1) descriptive epidemiological evidence suggesting water-related illness and excluding other obvious explanations; and (2) water treatment failure at WTP A. WTP A was closed to facilitate an upgrade. No boil water notice was required as a supplementary supply was available. The upgrade was completed and the incident closed in 2013.

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