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      Notes from the Field: Outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis Among Veterinary Medicine Students--Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 2015.

      MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report

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          Abstract

          On February 20, 2015, a northeastern university's student health center was notified of five veterinary medicine students with gastrointestinal symptoms. An investigation was conducted to establish the existence of an outbreak, determine the etiology, evaluate risk factors, and recommend control measures.

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          Survival of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts under various environmental pressures.

          The survival of various isolates of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts under a range of environmental pressures including freezing, desiccation, and water treatment processes and in physical environments commonly associated with oocysts such as feces and various water types was monitored. Oocyst viability was assessed by in vitro excystation and by a viability assay based on the exclusion or inclusion of two fluorogenic vital dyes. Although desiccation was found to be lethal, a small proportion of oocysts were able to withstand exposure to temperatures as low as -22 degrees C. The water treatment processes investigated did not affect the survival of oocysts when pH was corrected. However, contact with lime, ferric sulfate, or alum had a significant impact on oocyst survival if the pH was not corrected. Oocysts demonstrated longevity in all water types investigated, including seawater, and when in contact with feces were considered to develop an enhanced impermeability to small molecules which might increase the robustness of the oocysts when exposed to environmental pressures.
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            Outbreak of cryptosporidiosis among veterinary students.

            In January 2007, six veterinary students became infected with Cryptosporidium species, and records indicated that another student had been diagnosed in November 2006. It was established that the seven students had worked with cattle from the same farm. Microbiological tests indicated that they were infected with Cryptosporidium parvum. Subtyping by sequence analysis indicated a common source of infection for five of the students, but there was insufficient material to type the other two samples. Investigations indicated that the outbreak was caused by a lapse in hygiene, particularly handwashing, on a farm with enzootic C parvum in calves.
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              An outbreak of cryptosporidiosis among veterinary science students who work with calves.

              The authors describe an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis among students working with calves as part of their veterinary science technology program. After an off-campus provider identified an index case, school authorities requested cryptosporidium (crypto) as part of the stool ova and parasite examination of all students presenting to the college health center with significant gastroenteritis. Thirteen students submitted stool specimens that were examined for crypto; 7 were positive, and all were from veterinary science students. One of the calves used in the program also tested positive for crypto. All of the students were immunocompetent and recovered uneventfully. The outbreak was contained by strictly enforcing infectious-disease precautions in the calf barn. The authors recommend considering crypto as a cause of gastroenteritis, especially among farm-animal workers, and urge strict infectious disease precautions for those who attend to livestock.
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