Wednesday, December 06, 2006

You Can't Kill It...?

What is C. parvum?

It's one more reason I want to find out what happens at the - meeting on Monday night Dec. 11, 2006 - 7 pm - at the Rennselaer High School.

And it's just one more reason I feel a calf CAFO should NOT go in anywhere near Wolf Creek, ditches, rivers, streams, lakes -- and most important, the A-2 zoned residential subdivisions surrounding the area where this particular CAFO would like to establish itself.

Here's what C. parvum is.

C. parvum (actually called Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts) are a common protozoan parasite that causes disease in humans. The pathogenic potential of the parasite was not fully appreciated until 1982.(1)

Water treatment plants cannot usually guarantee to remove all C. parvum from water because the oocysts are very small (4-5 micrometers in diameter) and because it has a thick outer shell, this particular parasite is highly resistant to disinfectants such as chlorine and iodine.(6)

Does this mean you can't kill it?

Not entirely... C. parvum is inactivated by heat, freezing and drying, heat-treated, frozen and dried foods are thought to be safe, according to one study.

However, in water (such as drinking water, rivers, lakes, streams, etc.), freezing temperatures are not adequate for assuring oocyst elimination.(1) The CDC recommends you bring water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute before using, if you suspect it may be contaminated with C. parvum.(6)


Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection (from C. parvum).(2) Both the disease and the parasite are commonly known as "crypto." It can be VERY CONTAGIOUS!(6)

In humans it causes
- abdominal pain,
- profuse diarrhoea,
- weight loss,
- loss of appetite and
- anorexia,
but in otherwise healthy individuals the infection is usually self-limiting and resolves within a few weeks (Soave, 1994). "The symptoms may go in cycles in which you may seem to get better for a few days, then feel worse again before the illness ends."(6)

"In immunocompromised patients the infection is more serious; it can become chronic and is sometimes fatal."(1)

For immunocompromised people there is no cure.(1)(6)

A new drug, nitazoxanide, has been approved for treatment of diarrhea caused by Cryptosporidium in people with healthy immune systems, according to the CDC.(6)

The Indiana Department of Health have indicated that outbreaks have been associated with contaminated drinking water, recreational water venues, consumption of unpasteurized apple cider, and daycare centers. Populations at most risk of developing severe infection include young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.(2)

Here's a chart which shows reported confirmed cases in Indiana(3):

"Cryptosporidiosis represents a classic ‘emerging infection’; previously unknown in such severity, it has become important owing to its potential for fatal outcomes in HIV+ individuals. Since treatments are still in the developmental phase, current control efforts are largely directed at prevention methods."(1)

The Point

One study has indicated that, "on average, fresh fecal material from throughout feedlot systems (recent arrivals to nearing slaughter) contained about 1.3 to 3.6 oocysts/g feces, which roughly translates to about 2.8 x 104 to 1.4 x 105 oocysts/animal per day."(4)

Young calves are the primary source of C. parvum in dairy herds.(2)

Keep in mind, C. parvum oocysts are VERY SMALL, resistant to chlorine and other disinfectants, and survive up to 18 months in cool, damp or wet environments. They are quite common in rivers and lakes, especially where there has been sewage or animal contamination.(1)

The CDC recommends to Avoid water that might be contaminated, as follows:
1. Do not swallow recreational water.
2. Do not drink untreated water from shallow wells, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, and streams.
3. Do not drink untreated water during community-wide outbreaks of disease caused by contaminated drinking water.
4. Do not use untreated ice or drinking water when traveling in countries where the water supply might be unsafe.

On another section of their site:
If you touch a farm animal, particularly a calf, lamb, or other young animal, or visit a farm where animals are raised, wash your hands well with soap and water before preparing food or putting anything in your mouth.(5)

Do you want to see a calving CAFO go in so close to a residential area here in Jasper County?

I don't.

(1) CRYPTOSPORIDIUM PARVUM - A Review of Cryptosporidiosis
(2) Survival of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts in Calf Housing Facilities in the New York City Watersheds
(3) Indiana Cryptosporidiosis Cases by Year -- 1999 - 2003 and Cryptosporidiosis Cases by Month - Indiana, 2003
(4) Environmental Load of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts from Cattle Manure in Feedlots from the Central and Western United States
(5) Preventing Cryptosporidiosis: A Guide for People with Compromised Immune Systems
(6) Center for Disease Control (Division of Parasitic Diseases) - Cryptosporidium Infection; Cryptosporidiosis

Other Resources:
- Indiana Department of Health - Cryptosporidiosis 2002
- “Preventing Cryptosporidiosis: A Guide to Water Filters and Bottled Water”
- Release of Cryptosporidium and Giardia from Dairy Cattle Manure

PS: I posted my sources separately instead of embedding the links throughout my post because some people haven't realized the embedded links lead to source info for the educational information I've been posting. I hope that helps them.

PSS: Any information posted in this blog is for educational purposes only and is NOT intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease... but I'm guessing you already knew that, right?

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