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The largest outbreak of cryptosporidiosis reported in the United Kingdom, involving 575 confirmed cases (of which 474 met an agreed case definition), occurred in the county of Devon during August and September of 1995. The descriptive epidemiology supports the hypothesis that the outbreak was associated with the consumption of cold tap water in the area served by a particular water treatment works. Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in treated water samples at the time of the outbreak. Although the epidemiological analysis provided strong circumstantial evidence of a waterborne outbreak, the data were not recorded in a manner that made them admissible in criminal proceedings taken by the Drinking Water Inspectorate against the water company involved. The need to carry out an analytical study in conjunction with the identification and characterisation of the pathogen in the drinking water and the practicalities of agreeing criteria for lifting a 'boil water' notice are discussed.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Communicable disease and public health

Publication Date

09/2002

Volume

5

Pages

230 - 239

Addresses

South and West Devon Health Authority, Lescaze Offices, Shinner's Bridge, Dartington, Devon TQ9 6JE. sarah.harrison@sw-devon-ha.swest.nhs.uk

Keywords

Animals, Humans, Cryptosporidium, Cryptosporidiosis, Water, Risk Factors, Water Microbiology, Disease Outbreaks, Water Supply, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Female, Male, United Kingdom