ABSTRACT: To study the prevalence of Cryptosporidium infection by measuring the levels of anti-Cryptosporidium IgG antibodies among people inhabiting three neighbourhoods of a periurban area of Salvador, Northeast of Brazil; and to investigate the effects of environmental sanitation measures, hygienic habits and household water supply, storage and handling on the frequency of these antibodies in sera of the studied population.
Cryptosporidium inter-household transmission was studied by comparing the frequency of anti-Cryptosporidium IgG antibodies among people inhabiting areas with or without different environmental sanitation measures and intra-household transmission by comparing the presence of these antibodies in families with or without cases of diarrhoea, associated with the presence of Cryptosporidium oocysts in their stools. Children or family members with diarrhoeal episodes were evaluated parasitologically for Cryptosporidium infection by testing stool specimens with the Ritchie-modified formol-ether concentration and the acid-fast staining methods. All groups were serologically evaluated for parasite exposure by an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
A statistically significant difference was detected in the prevalence of Cryptosporidium infection between area 1 which had no environmental sanitation measures and area 3 which had improved environmental sanitation measures (P = 0.044). Most of the hygienic habits investigated did not correlate with the presence of anti-Cryptosporidium antibody in sera of the population studied. However, positive associations were found between both poor household water supply (OD = 0.17; 90% CI = 0.09-0.32; P = 0.0001) and drinking unboiled/unfiltered water (OD = 0.40; 90% CI = 0.24-0.67; P = 0.0002) with high levels of anti-Cryptosporidium antibodies in sera.
These data suggest that although uncorrected household water supply, storage and handling play an important role on Cryptosporidium transmission in periurban areas of developing country cities, like Salvador, Brazil, inadequate environmental conditions may also contribute to the spread of this parasite.
Tropical Medicine & International Health 10/2007; 12(9):1096-104. · 2.80 Impact Factor