Cryptosporidium surveillance and risk factors in the United States
Surveillance for Cryptosporidium in the United States indicates that the reported incidence of infection has increased dramatically since 2004. The reasons for this increase are unclear but might be caused by an actual increase in incidence, improved surveillance, improved awareness about cryptosporidiosis, and/or increases in testing practices resulting from the licensing of the first-ever treatment for cryptosporidiosis. While regional differences remain, the incidence of cryptosporidiosis appears to be increasing across the United States. Onset of illness is most common during the summer, particularly among younger children. Cryptosporidiosis case reporting also influences outbreak detection and reporting; the recent rise in cases coincides with an increase in the number of reported cryptosporidiosis outbreaks, particularly in treated recreational water venues. Risk factors include ingesting contaminated recreational or drinking water, exposure to infected animals, having close contacts with cryptosporidiosis, travel to disease-endemic areas, and ingestion of contaminated food. Advances in molecular characterization of clinical specimens have improved our understanding of the changing epidemiology and risk factors. Prevention and control of cryptosporidiosis requires continued efforts to interrupt the transmission of Cryptosporidium through water, food, and contact with infected persons or animals. Of particular importance is continued improvement and monitoring of drinking water treatment and advances in the design, operation, and management of recreational water venues coupled with behavioral changes among the swimming public.
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