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Temporal and spatial dynamics of Cryptosporidium parvum infection on dairy farms in the New York City Watershed: a cluster analysis based on crude and Bayesian risk estimates

Author(s): Szonyi Barbara | Wade Susan | Mohammed Hussni

Journal: International Journal of Health Geographics
ISSN 1476-072X

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 31;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Background Cryptosporidium parvum is one of the most important biological contaminants in drinking water that produces life threatening infection in people with compromised immune systems. Dairy calves are thought to be the primary source of C. parvum contamination in watersheds. Understanding the spatial and temporal variation in the risk of C. parvum infection in dairy cattle is essential for designing cost-effective watershed management strategies to protect drinking water sources. Crude and Bayesian seasonal risk estimates for Cryptosporidium in dairy calves were used to investigate the spatio-temporal dynamics of C. parvum infection on dairy farms in the New York City watershed. Results Both global (Global Moran's I) and specific (SaTScan) cluster analysis methods revealed a significant (p < 0.05) elliptical spatial cluster in the winter with a relative risk of 5.8, but not in other seasons. There was a two-fold increase in the risk of C. parvum infection in all herds in the summer (p = 0.002), compared to the rest of the year. Bayesian estimates did not show significant spatial autocorrelation in any season. Conclusions Although we were not able to identify seasonal clusters using Bayesian approach, crude estimates highlighted both temporal and spatial clusters of C. parvum infection in dairy herds in a major watershed. We recommend that further studies focus on the factors that may lead to the presence of C. parvum clusters within the watershed, so that monitoring and prevention practices such as stream monitoring, riparian buffers, fencing and manure management can be prioritized and improved, to protect drinking water supplies and public health.

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